1. The actions of peripheral arginine vasopressin (AVP) on the febrile responses of conscious rabbits induced by peripherally administered polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I).poly(C)) have been studied using an AVP V1 receptor antagonist ([deamino‐Pen1, O‐Me‐Tyr2, Arg8]‐vasopressin).
2. Temperature responses were monitored continuously using rectal thermistor probes. Test substances were administered intravenously (i.v.). Blood samples were taken at timed intervals from a marginal ear vein and plasma PGE2 and PGF2 alpha levels determined by radioimmunoassay.
3. Poly(I).poly(C) (2.5 micrograms/kg) stimulated a reproducible biphasic rise in body temperature with a lag phase of 45‐60 min and peaks at 90 and 225 min. The febrile response was accompanied by a 5‐fold rise in circulating immunoreactive (ir) PGE2, which peaked after 90 min and remained elevated up to 300 min. Poly(I).poly(C) also stimulated a 2.5‐fold rise in circulating irPGF2 alpha, which peaked after 150 min and was followed by a return to basal levels after 300 min.
4. The overall magnitude of the febrile response to poly(I).poly(C) (2.5 micrograms/kg, i.v.) was significantly antagonized by the AVP V1 receptor antagonist (250 micrograms/kg, i.v.) administered 5 min prior to the pyrogen.
5. The irPGE2 response to poly(I).poly(C) (2.5 micrograms/kg, i.v.) was significantly antagonized by the AVP V1 receptor antagonist (250 micrograms/kg, i.v.) administered 5 min prior to the pyrogen. The irPGF2 alpha response was only reduced at the peak 150 min time point measurement.
6. In conclusion, these results show a modulatory role for a peripherally administered AVP V1 antagonist in the febrile responses to poly(I).poly(C), suggesting a possible propyretic role for endogenous peripheral AVP. This modulatory role appears to be mediated via actions on prostaglandin E2.