Absorption of amniotic fluid by amniochorion in sheep

J. Job Faber, Debra F. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Swallowing of amniotic fluid and lung fluid inflow were eliminated in 10 chronically instrumented fetuses. The urachus was ligated, and fetal was urine drained to the outside. At the beginning and the end of 21 experiments of 66 ± 5 (SE) h duration, all amniotic fluid was temporarily drained to the outside for volume measurement and sampling. Amniotic fluid osmolalities and oncotic pressures were experimentally controlled. Amniochorionic absorption of amniotic fluid depended strongly on the osmolality difference between amniotic fluid and fetal plasma (P < 0.001), but at zero osmolality difference there still was a mean absorption rate of 23.8 ± 4.7 (SE) ml/h (P < 0.001). Absorption was unaffected by the protein concentration difference between amniotic fluid and fetal plasma, but infused bovine albumin in the amniotic fluid was absorbed at a rate of 1.8 ± 0.4 g/h (P < 0.001), corresponding to a volume flow of fluid of 33.8 ± 6.1 ml/h (P < 0.001). Fluid absorption in the amniochorion is driven in part by crystalloid osmotic pressure, but about 25 ml/h is absorbed by a path that is permeable to protein. That path has the physiological characteristics of lymphatic drainage, although no anatomic basis is known to exist for a lymphatic system in the amniochorion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H850-H854
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 51-3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Lymphatics
  • Oncotic pressure
  • Volume homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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