Role of Catecholamines in Thermoregulation of Cold-Adapted and Newborn Guinea Pigs

  • E. Zeisberger
  • J. Roth


The strain of birth — particularly that caused by hypoxia and pressure on the head — produce in the fetus an unusually high release in catecholamines. The levels of these ‘stress’ hormones in the human fetus are probably increased as early as several days before delivery. Catecholamine concentrations in human fetal scalp samples taken at the beginning of normal delivery, when the mother’s cervix was barely dilated (2–3 cm), were about 5 times as high as the concentrations in a resting adult. After birth the catecholamine levels were found to have doubled or tripled again; thus, levels in umbilical samples of neonates were found to be about 15–20 times higher on average than levels in the venous blood of resting adults. Neonates thus had catecholamine levels more than 5–8 times higher than stressed adults such as women during delivery or men during heavy exercise. Their levels were even higher than in patients with pheochromocytoma.


Brown Adipose Tissue Catecholamine Level Cold Adaptation Sympathetic System Postnatal Development 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Zeisberger
    • 1
  • J. Roth
  1. 1.Physiological InstituteUniversity of GiessenGiessenGermany

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