Endocrine changes during 48 hours of food withdrawal in the pregnant rhesus monkey in the last third of gestation

Z. Binienda, A. Massmann, J. Wimsatt, M. B.O.M. Honnebier, J. P. Figueroa, T. J. Reimers, P. W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We studied the hormonal responses in four pregnant rhesus monkeys between 112 and 149 days gestation. After 2 days, during which the monkeys were fed ad libitum, their food was withdrawn at 1500 h for 48 h while allowing free access to water. The food then was returned, and the animals were studied for a further 2 days. The mean maternal whole blood glucose concentration significantly decreased, and plasma cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentrations significantly increased within 30 h of food withdrawal (P < 0.05). The maternal plasma estradiol concentration increased significantly at 1000 h on the second day of food withdrawal (P < 0.05), whereas the plasma progesterone concentration did not change. The maternal blood glucose and plasma cortisol, DHEAS and estradiol concentrations returned to baseline by the second day of food replacement. We conclude that the stress of hypoglycemia and/or the attendant inability to eat, together or separately, stimulate maternal adrenal glucocorticoid and androgen secretion during the period of food withdrawal. The increased maternal DHEAS and perhaps other adrenal androgen concentrations result in increased maternal estrogen production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1188
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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