Author(s): Davison JM, Shiells EA, Philips PR, Lindheimer MD
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Abstract Serial studies were designed to characterized changes in osmoregulation throughout gestation. Eight women underwent a 2-h infusion of hypertonic saline before conception, during gestational weeks 5-8, 10-12, and 28-33, and then 10-12 wk postpartum. Basal plasma osmolality (Posmol) was already significantly decreased by 5-8 wk (P less than 0.001) and remained 10 mosmol.kg-1 below nonpregnant values throughout pregnancy. The apparent threshold for AVP release (defined as the abscissal intercept of the regression line relating plasma AVP [PAVP] to Posmol) was also decreased significantly throughout gestation, as was the osmotic threshold for thirst (derived from analogue scales relating desire to drink to Posmol). The decrement in osmotic thirst threshold appeared to precede that for AVP release, and consistent with this 24-h urine volumes were significantly greater at 5-8 wk gestation (P less than 0.05). The slopes of each regression equation defining PAVP vs. Posmol (whose r values ranged from 0.79 to 0.99), very reproducible before and after pregnancy, were similar at 5-8 and 10-12 wk, but were markedly reduced in the third trimester (P less than 0.001). These volunteers had randomly undergone an additional infusion before conception (both tests in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle) when 10,000 IU of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) had been given intramuscularly over a 5-d period. Serum hCG values between 0.2 and 3.3 U.ml-1 were lower than usually seen in pregnancy, but the osmotic thresholds for AVP release and thirst decreased by 3 and 4 mosmol.kg-1, respectively (P less than 0.05). Finally we studied a patient with a molar pregnancy in whom thresholds for hormone release and thirst were both decreased to values resembling normal gestation and remained so for approximately 6 wk postevacuation, only normalizing when hCG had virtually disappeared from her serum. In contrast, thresholds increased within the first two puerperal weeks in two women with normal pregnancies. These data demonstrate (a) osmotic thresholds for both AVP release and thirst decrease within the very first gestational weeks; (b) increment in PAVP per unit increase in Posmol is reduced late in gestation; and (c) hCG may be involved in the osmoregulatory changes of pregnancy.
This article was published in J Clin Invest
and referenced in Dentistry