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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Jul;289(1):H146-50. Epub 2005 Mar 4.

Function curve of the membranes that regulate amniotic fluid volume in sheep.

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Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology, L334, Oregon Health and Sciences Univ., Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Seven singleton 120-day fetal lambs were prepared with a shunt from the lung to the gastric end of the esophagus, a bladder catheter, and multiple amniotic fluid and vascular catheters. The urachus was ligated. Beginning 7 days later, amniotic fluid volumes were determined by drainage, followed by replacement with 1 liter of lactated Ringer (LR) solution. Urine flow into the amnion was measured continuously. In 14 of 27 experiments, amniotic fluid volumes were determined again 2 days after the inflow into the amnion had consisted of urine only and in 13 experiments after the inflow of urine had been supplemented by an intraamniotic infusion of LR solution. Intramembranous absorption was calculated from the inflows and the changes in volume between the beginning and end of each experiment. The relations between absorption rate and amniotic fluid volume, the "function curves," were highly individual. Urine production during the infusion of LR solution did not decrease, fetal plasma renin activity decreased (P < 0.001), and amniotic fluid volume increased by 140% [SE (27%), P < 0.005], but the increase in the amniochorionic absorption rate of 411% [SE (48%), P < 0.001] was greater (P < 0.005) than the increase in volume. Each of the seven fetuses was proven capable of an average intramembranous absorption rate that exceeded 4.5 liters of amniotic fluid per day. During the infusion of LR solution, the increase in the rate of absorption matched the rate of infusion (both in ml/h), with a regression coefficient of 0.75 (P < 0.001). Thus, even for large amniotic fluid volumes, volume is not limited by the absorptive capacity of the amniochorion, and, at least in these preparations, the position of the function curve and not the natural rate of inflow was the major determinant of resting amniotic fluid volume.

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