Systemic and uterine responses to α-adrenergic stimulation in pregnant and nonpregnant ewes

R. R. Magness, C. R. Rosenfeld

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101 Scopus citations


Attenuated systemic pressor responses to infused angiotensin II characterize normal human and ovine pregnancy; moreover, uterine vascular refractoriness is greater than that of the systemic vasculature overall. It remains unclear whether this generalized refractoriness also pertains to other vasoconstrictors; therefore we studied simultaneous systemic and uterine responses to α-agonists in pregnant (n = 6) and nonpregnant (n = 6) sheep. Mean arterial pressure, heart rate, uterine blood flow, and cardiac output were measured before and during infusions of norepinephrine (0.456 to 45.84 μg/min) and phenylephrine (1.29 to 129 μg/min). Both α-agonists caused dose-dependent increases (p < 0.01) in mean arterial pressure and systemic vascular resistance and decreases in cardiac output (p < 0.01) in nonpregnant and pregnant animals; however, nonpregnant pressor responses exceeded pregnant ones. Nonpregnant ewes also had greater decreases in uterine blood flow (p < 0.05) and increases in uterine vascular resistance (p < 0.05); furthermore, increases in uterine vascular resistance exceeded those of systemic vascular resistance in both groups (p < 0.01). Attenuated uterine and systemic responses to α-agonists characterize normal ovine pregnancy; however, in contrast to the results with angiotensin II, the uterine vascular bed is substantially more responsive to α-agonists than the systemic vasculature overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-904
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1986


  • Vascular responsiveness
  • pregnancy
  • systemic vascular resistance
  • uterine blood flow
  • α-agonists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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