Adrenocortical function in neonatal and weanling Beagle pups

John F. Randolph From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Randolph, Center, Scarlett, Corbett), and the Diagnostic Laboratoiv (Reimers), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Sharon A. Center From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Randolph, Center, Scarlett, Corbett), and the Diagnostic Laboratoiv (Reimers), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Thomas J. Reimers From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Randolph, Center, Scarlett, Corbett), and the Diagnostic Laboratoiv (Reimers), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Janet M. Scarlett From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Randolph, Center, Scarlett, Corbett), and the Diagnostic Laboratoiv (Reimers), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Julie R. Corbett From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Randolph, Center, Scarlett, Corbett), and the Diagnostic Laboratoiv (Reimers), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Abstract

Adrenocortical function was assessed in 27 Beagle pups at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks of age by determination of plasma sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations; serum aldosterone and cortisol concentrations; and plasma ACTH concentrations. Serum cortisol concentration was measured before and 1 and 2 hours after IM administration of 2.2 IU of acth/kg of body weight. Serum progesterone concentration also was determined for all pups at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age.

Mean baseline cortisol concentration was lower for pups 8 weeks old or younger than for mature dogs. Nevertheless, mean serum ACIH-stimulated cortisol concentration in dogs of all age groups increased into the adult reference range after administration of acth. For pups 4 weeks old or younger, increase in cortisol concentration was maximal at 2 hours after acth administration. However, in pups between 6 and 12 weeks of age, the increase in cortisol concentration was maximal 1 hour after acth administration in about a third of the pups, whereas the remaining pups had peak values at 2 hours.

Mean plasma sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations for each age group were within the reference ranges established for mature dogs, with the exception of lower mean plasma sodium and chloride concentrations in pups 4 weeks old or younger. Mean serum aldosterone concentration in pups of each age group was substantially higher than the range of aldosterone concentrations for clinically normal mature dogs. Median progesterone concentration was uniformly less than 0.2 ng/ml for all pups 6 weeks old or younger.

The normal endogenous acth concentration and adequate cortisol responses to exogenous acth seen in our pups would support functional pituitary gland and adrenal cortex for cortisol production. The low baseline cortisol concentration observed in the pups of this study may be related to reduced binding of cortisol to plasma proteins, as exists in human infants. The hyponatremia and increased aldosterone concentration may be explained by reduced renal tubular response to aldosterone, as also evidenced in the human infant kidney.

Abstract

Adrenocortical function was assessed in 27 Beagle pups at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks of age by determination of plasma sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations; serum aldosterone and cortisol concentrations; and plasma ACTH concentrations. Serum cortisol concentration was measured before and 1 and 2 hours after IM administration of 2.2 IU of acth/kg of body weight. Serum progesterone concentration also was determined for all pups at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age.

Mean baseline cortisol concentration was lower for pups 8 weeks old or younger than for mature dogs. Nevertheless, mean serum ACIH-stimulated cortisol concentration in dogs of all age groups increased into the adult reference range after administration of acth. For pups 4 weeks old or younger, increase in cortisol concentration was maximal at 2 hours after acth administration. However, in pups between 6 and 12 weeks of age, the increase in cortisol concentration was maximal 1 hour after acth administration in about a third of the pups, whereas the remaining pups had peak values at 2 hours.

Mean plasma sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations for each age group were within the reference ranges established for mature dogs, with the exception of lower mean plasma sodium and chloride concentrations in pups 4 weeks old or younger. Mean serum aldosterone concentration in pups of each age group was substantially higher than the range of aldosterone concentrations for clinically normal mature dogs. Median progesterone concentration was uniformly less than 0.2 ng/ml for all pups 6 weeks old or younger.

The normal endogenous acth concentration and adequate cortisol responses to exogenous acth seen in our pups would support functional pituitary gland and adrenal cortex for cortisol production. The low baseline cortisol concentration observed in the pups of this study may be related to reduced binding of cortisol to plasma proteins, as exists in human infants. The hyponatremia and increased aldosterone concentration may be explained by reduced renal tubular response to aldosterone, as also evidenced in the human infant kidney.

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