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Synacthen (10 μg/h) infused into foetal sheep at about day 125 of gestation caused premature delivery within 4 days. During the first 24 h of the infusion the secretion of adrenocorticotrophin was depressed and the assayable hormone concentration was within 500-1000 pg/ml. Subsequently, large fluctuations occurred in the adrenocorticotrophin concentration in the pasma of foetal sheep which were consistent with the stimulation of adrenocorticotrophin secretion. No transfer of Synacthen to non-infused twin foetuses was observed. The plasma corticosteroid concentration in the infused foetus also showed a small rise during the first 24 h of the infusion followed by large fluctuations in concentrations that coincided with the changes in adrenocorticotrophin. No consistent changes in the plasma corticosteroid concentration in the non-infused twin foetus were observed. These results are discussed in relation to the hormone changes occurring during normal delivery.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta Endocrinologica

Publication Date





192 - 202