Effect of thyroidectomy on cardiovascular responses to hypoxia and tyramine infusion in fetal sheep Academic Article uri icon


  • Fetal sheep were thyroidectomized at 80 days' gestation and reoperated at 118-122 days for insertion of vascular catheters. The effects of hypoxaemia and intravenous tyramine infusion on plasma catecholamine concentrations, blood pressure and heart rate were then determined in experiments at 125-135 days' gestation. Age matched intact fetuses were also studied. Thyroidectomy was associated with increased concentrations of noradrenaline, adrenaline and dopamine in some thoracic and abdominal organs, increased noradrenaline concentrations in the cerebellum, and decreased adrenaline concentrations in the hypothalamus, cervical spinal cord, and superior cervical and inferior mesenteric ganglia. Arterial pressure was significantly lower in the thyroidectomized fetuses (34.0 +/- 0.15 mmHg) than in intact fetuses (44.7 +/- 0.2 mmHg; p less than 0.001). In contrast, plasma noradrenaline concentrations were significantly higher in the thyroidectomized fetuses (2.04 +/- 0.25 ng/ml) compared to the intact fetuses (0.99 +/- 0.08 ng/ml; P less than 0.001). In the intact fetuses there was a significant increase in plasma noradrenaline concentration and blood pressure during hypoxaemia, and bradycardia at the onset of hypoxaemia. In contrast, in the thyroidectomized fetuses hypoxaemia did not cause significant change in plasma catecholamine concentrations, blood pressure or heart rate. Infusion of tyramine produced a 1.9-fold increase of plasma noradrenaline in thyroidectomized fetuses compared to a 9.2-fold increase in the intact fetuses (P less than 0.05). Tyramine infusion caused a similar proportional increase of blood pressure in both thyroidectomized and intact fetuses. Heart rate decreased during the tyramine-induced hypertension in the intact fetus, but increased in the thyroidectomized fetuses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • December 1, 1989