Altered osmotic thresholds for vasopressin secretion and thirst in human pregnancy

Am J Physiol. 1984 Jan;246(1 Pt 2):F105-9. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.1984.246.1.F105.

Abstract

Osmoregulation was studied in eight women during late pregnancy and again 8-10 wk postpartum. Base-line plasma osmolality (Posmol) was significantly lower during (280.9 +/- 2.1 mosmol/kg, SD) than after (289.4 +/- 2.1 mosmol/kg) pregnancy yet 24-h urinary volume and plasma arginine vasopressin (PAVP) measured in vasopressinase-inactivated blood was similar in both groups (pregnancy, 1.39 +/- 0.56 pg/ml; postpartum, 1.25 +/- 0.62 pg/ml). After 12 h of dehydration PAVP rose similarly and significantly both during (2.25 +/- 0.81 pg/ml) and after (2.89 +/- 1.19 pg/ml) gestation, and Uosmol was similar on both occasions (pregnancy, 779 +/- 121 mosmol/kg; postpartum, 784 +/- 102 mosmol/kg). When Posmol was increased by the slow infusion of 5% saline PAVP increased as soon as body tonicity did both during and after pregnancy. PAVP correlated significantly with Posmol in each subject (range of r, 0.75-0.99) and the mean regression lines [pregnancy, PAVP = 0.32 (Posmol; -279), r = 0.79; postpartum, PAVP = 0.38 (Posmol, -285), r = 0.86] demonstrated that the apparent osmotic threshold for AVP secretion was 6 mosmol/kg lower during than after gestation. Similarly the Posmol at which the subject experienced a conscious desire to drink was lower in pregnant (287 +/- 1.6 mosmol/kg) compared with postpartum subjects (298 +/- 2.0 mosmol/kg; P less than 0.001). These data demonstrate decreased osmotic thresholds for AVP release and thirst during human pregnancy and explain why gravidas can maintain their new lower Posmol within narrow limits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine Vasopressin / metabolism*
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pregnancy*
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Thirst / physiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance*

Substances

  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Arginine Vasopressin