Amniotic fluid volume and composition after fetal membrane resection in late-gestation sheep

Robert A. Brace, Cecilia Y. Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The chronically catheterized fetal sheep is a widely used model for fetal physiologic and pathophysiologic investigations. Catheterization involves opening the amniochorion to gain access to the fetus. In the current study, we explored the role of the amnion and amniochorion in maintaining normal amniotic fluid volume (AFV) and composition and fetal blood-gas status after surgery. Fetal sheep were catheterized at 119.6 ± 0.3 (mean ± SE, n = 25) d gestation (term, approximately 147 d). An opening equal to approximately 5% of total membrane surface area was created by resecting a portion of the amnion or amniochorion during surgery. The uterine wall was closed in all animals. Compared with control sheep (AFV = 992 ± 153 mL, n = 11), resection of the amnion had no significant effect on AFV (745 ± 156 mL, n = 7) measured 5 d after surgery, whereas resection of the amniochorion resulted in extensive loss of amniotic fluid (AFV = 131 ± 38 mL, n = 7). This loss resulted from extensive entry of amniotic fluid into the space between the chorion and uterine wall. Amniotic fluid, fetal plasma, and urinary solute concentrations; arterial pH; oxygen tension; and carbon dioxide tension were unchanged. A small opening in the amnion has minimal effects on ovine AFV, whereas a small opening in the amniochorion results in oligohydramnios. In addition, the amnion appears to be the primary site that limits the rate of amniotic fluid absorption by the chorionic vasculature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-942
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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