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The effects of temperature change and lung expansion on lung liquid production in in vitro preparations of lungs from fetal guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) Garrad, E. Philippa


This study examined the effects of lung expansion and changes in temperature on fluid movement by the lungs in the initial period after birth. In addition, experiments with amiloride support the belief that fluid reabsorption acts via a sodium transport mechanism. Lungs from fetal guinea pigs (56-67 days of gestation) were supported in vitro for three hours, and lung liquid production rates were measured using a dye dilution technique. The average production rate in the first hour of untreated preparations was 1.30 ±0.22 ml/kg body weight per hour, and this did not change significantly during the remainder of the experiment (n=30). This rate is comparable to secretion rates previously reported from chronically catheterized sheep. In 36 further preparations, the lungs were transferred from 37°C to fresh Krebs-Hanseleit saline at one of the following temperatures, for one hour (an ABA design): (a) 29°C; (b) 32°C; (c) 34°C; (d) 35°C; (e) 36°C; (f) 39°C. In all cases, the temperature change resulted in an immediate and significant fall in secretion. All lungs showed a tendency towards recovery when returned to starting conditions, except those subjected to a temperature increase. Reductions of 2-3°C, those normally seen in the delivery room, had the greatest effect and caused not only a decrease in secretion, but promoted fluid reabsorption. Amiloride at 10⁻⁶M had no effect on control preparations, but completely blocked the reabsorption stimulated by a temperature drop of 2°C. Expansion of the lungs, which occurs naturally as a newborn attempts to take its first breaths, was also examined. Thirty fetal lungs were expanded by one of the following amounts: (a) 18%; (b) 31%; (c) 43%; (d) 50%; (e) 72%. All expansions resulted in a significant fall in secretion rate, with the effect being proportional to the degree of expansion. Amiloride at 10⁻⁶M again blocked the strong reabsorption occurring with 70% expansion. Further studies investigated the possibility that expansion causes reabsorption via the local release of a substance occurring in the lungs. When one set of lungs was expanded in the presence of a second, unexpanded set, both showed a significant decrease in secretion, suggesting that the expanded lung had released some factor which affected the otherwise untreated lung. However, studies with α- and β- adrenergic blockers showed that it is unlikely the expanded lung was liberating either adrenaline or nor-adrenaline. The results of this study show that two changes which are likely to occur in the period immediately after birth, namely a 2-3°C decrease in core temperature, and lung expansion, may be important in promoting the vital reabsorption of fluid. They suggest that expansion may release substances locally in the lungs which stimulate this reabsorption, and that the fluid is removed from the potential air spaces via sodium transport mechanisms.

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