Previous studies have shown that moderate fetal asphyxia reduces the secretion rate of fetal lung liquid. The present aim was to determine the relative effects of the individual components of asphyxia (hypoxia, hypercapnia and acidaemia) on lung liquid secretion in fetal sheep. Fetal hyperoxia was also studied to determine the extent to which lung liquid secretion is restricted by the relatively low fetal blood PO2. As each manipulation of fetal blood gas tensions and pH treatment produced alterations in more than one aspect of blood composition, data from all treatment groups were combined and a multiple analysis of variance was performed to determine the separate effects of PaO2, PaCO2, SaO2 and pHa. Lung liquid secretion rate was significantly reduced when mean PaO2 values were below 24.5 mmHg (range 12.9-24.3 mmHg). When PaO2 values below 24.5 mmHg occurred in combination with pHa values below 7.275 (range 6.934-7.268) the secretion rates were further reduced. Alterations in pHa alone or in PaCO2 had no significant effect. These results indicate that hypoxia is the principal factor responsible for the inhibition of lung liquid secretion during asphyxia and that acidaemia enhances this inhibition.
- Fetal sheep