Plasma gastrin and glucagon levels were estimated in mothers after labour, and in their babies at birth and on the fourth day of life. The newly born baby appears to secrete gastrin independently and the plasma levels are higher on the fourth day of life. The cord gastrin level is lower when labour is induced or augmented by the intravenous infusion of oxytocin. Our results do not exclude the possibility that gastrin is transferred from mother to baby during a spontaneous labour. Such a maternal component of cord gastrin may be responsible for neonatal gastric hyperacidity.
The mean cord glucagon level is higher than the maternal level at birth and the fourth day level is higher than the cord level. The C-terminal reactive glucagon-like immunoreactivity (C-GLI) in the cord blood is lower when oxytocin has been used during labour. Maternal or placental transfer of C-GLI during labour to the spontaneously born baby is one possible explanation of this finding.
The raised glucagon levels on the fourth day may explain why there is low gastric acidity at this time despite the gastrin level being higher than at birth. No relation could be deduced between the C-GLI, i.e. pancreatic glucagon level, and the blood glucose level either at birth or on the fourth day of life.
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