To determine whether the reported absence of fever in full-term-pregnant ewes might be associated with shifts of regional blood flows from thermogenic tissues to placenta during this critical period, fevers were induced twice by injections of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 0.25 microgram/kg iv) into each of six Merino ewes from 8 to 1 days prepartum, and their regional blood flow distribution was measured with radioactive, 15-microns-diam microspheres before and during the rise in fever (when their rectal temperature had risen approximately 0.4 degree C). Unexpectedly, fever always developed, rising to heights not significantly different at any time before parturition [4-8 days prepartum = 0.81 +/- 0.23 degree C (SE); 1-3 days prepartum = 0.75 +/- 0.17 degree C) and similar to those in three wethers treated similarly (0.90 +/- 0.10 degree C). Generally, during rising fever, blood flow in the ewes shifted away from heat loss tissues (e.g., skin, nose) to heat production tissues (e.g., shivering muscle, fat) and cardiac output increased; blood flow through redistribution organs (e.g., splanchnic bed) decreased. The reverse occurred during defervescence. Utero-placental blood flow remained high in the febrile ewes. These regional blood flow distributions during febrigenesis and lysis are essentially the same as those during exposures to ambient cold and heat, respectively. Some differences in the responses of cardiac output and its redistribution, however, were apparent between wethers and pregnant ewes. We conclude that 1) the previously reported "absence of fever in the full-term-pregnant sheep" should not be regarded as a general phenomenon and 2) full-term-pregnant sheep support fever production without sacrificing placental blood flow.
- Copyright © 1988 the American Physiological Society