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J Dev Physiol. 1989 Oct;12(4):225-32.

Studies on the role of oxytocin in late pregnancy in the pregnant rhesus monkey: plasma concentrations of oxytocin in the maternal circulation throughout the 24-h day and the effect of the synthetic oxytocin antagonist [1-beta-Mpa(beta-(CH2)5)1,(Me(Tyr2, Orn8] oxytocin on spontaneous nocturnal myometrial contractions.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca 14853.


Previous observations have demonstrated that under several different circumstances the pregnant rhesus monkey myometrium shows a spontaneous shift in activity from contractures to contractions around the beginning of the hours of darkness. Preliminary studies were conducted to demonstrate that the competitive oxytocin antagonist ([1-beta-Mpa(beta-(CH2)5)1,) Me)Tyr2, Orn8] oxytocin was effective in vivo in inhibiting oxytocin induced contraction type myometrial activity in the pregnant rhesus monkey in the last third of gestation. Four pregnant and one fetectomized rhesus monkey (98-141 days gestation) received one intra-arterial dose of oxytocin antagonist to study its ability to inhibit myometrial contractions occurring spontaneously around the onset of prevailing nighttime. In three pregnant monkeys (105-121 days gestation) maternal arterial plasma oxytocin levels were measured at 4-h intervals for a period of 48 h. Maternal plasma oxytocin concentration was maximal during the early hours of darkness and demonstrated a significant 24-h rhythm. From the combined results of both experiments it may be concluded that circulating oxytocin and/or a change in one of the many potential regulatory sites for oxytocin function plays a role in the switch from contractures to contractions that occurs around the beginning of the hours of darkness.

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