The present study was designed to investigate the presence of VIP in fetal adrenals, to determine the changes in adrenal VIP content associated with maturation, and to explore the factors which regulate fetal adrenal VIP release. Adrenal glands from ovine fetuses at 70 to 140 days gestation were used. Adrenal VIP content, as measured by radioimmunoassay, were low at 70 and 80 days of gestation. This was followed by a rapid increase in VIP content from 80 to 110 days reaching a plateau between 110 and 130 days at levels comparable to that in the adult. A significant fall in adrenal VIP content occurred at 140 days, immediately prior to term. Release of VIP from fetal adrenocortical cells in vitro was significantly elevated by angiotensin II at 10-5 and 10-4 M, while ACTH had no effect. Acetylcholine at 50 μM and high potassium stimulated fetal adrenal VIP release while norepinephrine did not. These results suggest that the VIP neuronal system in the ovine fetal adrenal matures between 80 and 110 days of gestation. Furthermore, the release of VIP from the fetal adrenocortical cells may be regulated by angiotensin II and cholinergic neurotransmitters.
- Fetal adrenal
- VIP content
- VIP release
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience