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It has been suggested that ineffective constriction in response to an increase in P02 is the primary cause for delayed closure of the ductus arteriosus in preterm infants. The isometric contractile effects of increased P02 and prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors (indomethacin and tranylcypromine) were studied on isolated rings of lamb ductus arteriosus from animals of two gestational ages (87–110 days and 135–150 days, term is 150 days). Rings from animals less than 110 days have a significantly smaller oxygen-induced contraction (2.5 ± .3 g/mm2, n=16) when compared with rings from animals near term (4.6 ± .7 g/mm2, n=9).Oxygen-contracted rings from both gestational age groups contract further upon addition of either prostaglandin synthetase inhibitor. Rings from animals less than 110 days have a significantly larger indomethacin-induced contraction (1.10 ± 1.7 g/mm2, n=16) than vessels near term (0.52 ± .12 g/mmm2, n=9). In addition, arachidonic acid produces a greater relaxation in the immature oxygen contracted ring (42 ± 9%, n=10) than in the vessel near term (6 ± 2%, n=4). This is consistent with the hypothesis that, early during gestation, endogenous prostaglandins inhibit the vessel's ability to contract in response to oxygen. These observations are also consistent with the ability of indomethacin to constrict the patent ductus arteriosus in preterm infants.
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© 1978 Published by Elsevier Inc.