Adenosine concentrations were measured in umbilical venous blood obtained by cordocentesis from 14 fetuses of 19-34 weeks' gestation. The concentration did not change significantly with gestational age, but anaemic fetuses showed significantly increased concentrations of adenosine and there was a positive association with blood oxygen tension. These findings suggest that the fetus responds to tissue hypoxia by increasing blood adenosine concentrations from at least 19 weeks' gestation.
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