Physiol. Res. 55: 133-138, 2006


Physical Water Compartments: A Revised Concept of Perinatal Body Water Physiology


Institute of Health Promotion and Family Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary

Received April 2, 2004
Accepted April 27, 2005
On-line available May 24, 2005

This review presents experimental data on the perinatal significance of the recently developed concept of physical water compartments. This concept implies that in addition to the compartmentalization of body water into the intra- and extracellular spaces, motionally distinct water fractions – designated as physical water compartments – are also of importance in the neonatal body fluid redistribution. H1-NMR spectroscopy provides a quantitative estimate of tissue water fractions with different mobility as multicomponent analysis of the T2 relaxation decay curves allows us to determine the fast and slow relaxing components of the curves corresponding to the bound and free fractions of tissue water. Using this method, free and bound water fractions were measured in fetal and neonatal rabbit tissues (skin, skeletal muscle, liver, brain, lung) at different stages of maturity and under conditions of various fluid intake. It has been demonstrated that water mobility in individual fetal/neonatal tissues varies greatly and there is a general tendency of increasing free water at the expense of bound water fraction with progressing maturation. This tendency appears to be accelerated in the immediate postnatal period when the tissue water content is markedly reduced. The importance of hyaluronan in this process has also been addressed as the hyaluronan content is markedly elevated in the fetal/neonatal tissues and due to its polyanionic, hydrophilic nature it has been claimed to play a prominent but not clearly defined role in the control of tissue hydration.

Key words
Tissue water mobility • Proton nuclear magnetic resonance • Hyaluronan • Perinatal period

© 2006 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences