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Effects of clonidine on breathing movements and electrocortical activity in the fetal lamb



Effects of clonidine on breathing movements and electrocortical activity in the fetal lamb



American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 163(2): 661-668



Clonidine is a recommended antihypertensive for use during pregnancy, although little is known of its fetal effects. The study examines the effects of clonidine on breathing and sleep-state cycling in fetal lambs. Clonidine was infused into a fetal lateral ventricle for up to 24 hours at 128 to 135 days' gestation. Control infusions of artificial cerebrospinal fluid had no effect. Clonidine infusion significantly reduced the incidence and episode duration of fetal breathing for the duration of the infusion period. Cycling of electrocortical activity became irregular and rapid, and the incidence of high-voltage electrocortical activity (equivalent to quiet sleep) was reduced. Fetal heart rate decreased but arterial pressure was unaffected. After infusion the breathing incidence and episode duration both increased significantly compared with control, with continuous high-amplitude breathing for several hours, whereas the incidence of high-voltage electrocortical activity remained low. Because lung development is promoted by fetal breathing, long-term use of clonidine during pregnancy could slow lung development by reducing fetal breathing activity.

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Accession: 007271144

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 2386160

DOI: 10.1016/0002-9378(90)91220-7



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