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  • Author or Editor: Jörg E. Aurich x
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Summary

Labor and delivery stimulate increased release of catecholamines and endogenous opioid peptides in neonates. Catecholamines promote adaptation to the extrauterine environment after birth. Enkephalins are stored together with catecholamines in the adrenal medulla and have an inhibitory effect on catecholamine release. We investigated the influence of labor and neonatal hypoxia on epinephrine, norepinephrine, and met-enkephalin release in calves. Blood samples were taken from the umbilical artery before rupture of the umbilical cord and from the jugular vein repeatedly after birth. Highest plasma norepinephrine concentration was found in calves delivered at the end of gestation (term calves) before umbilical cord rupture. In calves delivered before the physiologic end of gestation (preterm calves), norepinephrine values increased after cord rupture, but remained lower than values in term calves. Epinephrine release followed a similar pattern, but norepinephrine was clearly predominant. In term calves, met-enkephalin values were significantly higher than values in preterm calves. In calves of both groups, met-enkephalin release increased after cord rupture. During birth, the increase in catecholamine release seems to take place earlier than that of enkephalins. Norepinephrine-dominated stimulation during expulsion of the calf might be followed by increasing enkephalinergic inhibition after cord rupture and onset of respiration. Reduced release of catecholamines and enkephalins in preterm calves may be connected with delayed adaptation to the extrauterine environment.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research