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Oxytocin Release by Infused Prostaglandin

Br Med J 1972; 1 doi: (Published 26 February 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;1:543
  1. Arnold Gillespie,
  2. Hilary C. Brummer,
  3. T. Chard


    Plasma oxytocin levels were measured serially in 22 women receiving prostaglandin E2 or F intravenously for the induction of labour. Oxytocin was detected in the plasma of 19 of the 22 women; positive levels were found in 60 (43%) of 139 plasma samples, an incidence similar to that in the late first stage of spontaneous labour. Oxytocin was found in the maternal plasma even when the fetus was dead, and in the plasma of two men receiving prostaglandin infusions. This indicates that prostaglandins stimulate the pituitary directly and suggests that this mechanism may play a part in the oxytocic action of infused prostaglandins.