After opening the maternal abdomen under methoxyflurane anesthesia, fetal rabbits 25.5–28.5 days gestation were given an intraperitoneal injection of pilocarpine (150 mg/kg) or saline through the intact uterine wall. They were delivered by hysterotomy and sacrificed without breathing 2.5 hlater. Newborn rabbits 29.5 days gestation received an injection of pilocarpine or saline at birth and breathed 30–120 min. Other newborn rabbits 29.5 days gestation were alternately sacrificed at birth or after breathing 30 min. Static pressure-volume curves with air showed decreased recoiland improved air retention on deflation in fetal rabbits 25.5–27.5 days injected with pilocarpine. There was no change in the static pressure-volume curve of lungs filled with saline. The data suggest that pilocarpine reduced surface tension by producing secretion of surfactant into air spaces. No change in lung recoil occurred with pilocarpine at 28.5 days, or withpilocarpine or breathing at 29.5 days. This may mean that air spaces at 28.5–29.5 days contained optimal surfactant, so further secretion of surfactant stimulated by pilocarpine or breathing failed to reduce surface tension.
- Copyright © 1976 the American Physiological Society