Infusion of oxytocin (OT) into normal dogs, in doses which produced plasma levels of OT in the physiological range, has been shown to increase plasma levels of glucose, insulin and glucagon and increase rates of glucose production and uptake. This study sought to determine whether there was a correlation between these metabolic effects and the oxytocic potency of four less potent oxytocic analogues when infused into normal dogs. The rank order of oxytocic potency of all 4 correlated well with the rise in plasma glucose levels, and in 3 of the 4 with the rise in plasma insulin levels. An antagonist of the oxytocic effect of OT suppressed the usual OT-induced rise in plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon as well as the increased glucose production and uptake. Arginine vasopressin (AVP) infusion, which by itself did not produce any metabolic effects, blocked completely the effects of OT infusion to raise plasma glucose and insulin levels and increase glucose production and uptake. The data suggest that the metabolic effects of OT in the dog are mediated by OT receptors that are similar to those producing the oxytocic effects. Whether the inhibition by AVP of the metabolic and hormonal effects of OT occurs at the receptor or post receptor level or via other mechanisms remains to be determined.
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