The present experiment was designed to examine the influence of pregnancy on basal and stress levels of serum and liver metallothionein (MT). Eighteen-day pregnant rats showed higher serum MT levels and lower liver MT levels than nulliparous rats, suggesting that a great MT mobilization from the liver into the serum was present in the former rats. Serum MT levels were not changed by either restraint or starvation. It is unlikely that the lower liver MT levels showed by pregnant rats were due to competition by progesterone for glucocorticoid receptors, as previously suggested, since the corticosterone/progesterone ratio was unchanged in pregnant rats. Liver MT response to food and water deprivation with or without restraint was somewhat different in nulliparous and pregnant rats. Thus, food and water deprivation for 24 h caused higher liver MT induction in pregnant than in nulliparous rats. When food and water deprivation was accompanied by restraint stress a further increase in liver MT was observed in nulliparous but not in pregnant rats. This suggests that food and water deprivation may be a more severe stress in pregnant rats because of the additional demands of the growing fetuses. Fetal liver MT was increased by restraint stress but not by food and water deprivation. The role of Zn influx into the liver is discussed. © 1988 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- Food and water deprivation
- Serum and liver metallothionein