Effect of gestational age on in-vitro responses of pregnant rat aorta

V. Jain, Y. P. Vedernikov, G. R. Saade, K. Chwalisz, R. E. Garfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The hypothesis that the changes in vascular reactivity seen during pregnancy are determined by the gestational age was examined. Experiments were designed to investigate changes in vascular responses with progression of pregnancy. The contractile responses to potassium and phenylephrine (in the presence and absence of Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor) and the relaxant responses to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside were measured in isolated aortic rings from pregnant rats at various stages of gestation and from non-pregnant female rats. Potassium-evoked contractile response was higher early in pregnancy and was decreased at term (P < 0.05). The contractile response to phenyllephrine was decreased and the relaxant response to acetylcholine was increased in early pregnancy (P < 0.05). Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase caused an increase in the contractile response to phenylephrine in all the groups, but the attenuation of the response in early pregnancy was maintained (P < 0.05). There was a small decrease in the maximal relaxant response to sodium nitroprusside at term (P < 0.05). It was concluded that the effects of pregnancy on the responses of rat aorta in vitro vary at different stages of gestation. Vascular resistance may be lowered by changes in vascular reactivity in early gestation and by a decrease in the contractile potential of the vasculature during the later stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Endothelium
  • Nitric oxide
  • Pregnancy
  • Rat aorta
  • Vascular smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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