1. Six well-nourished Scottish Blackface ewes were each prepared at 110-112 days of gestation with indwelling catheters in an umbilical artery and vein and at 2 days before experiment with catheters in each maternal jugular vein. Two-day experiments were conducted between days 124 and 134 of gestation when [2-3H,U-14C]glucose was infused over 9 h into either the maternal or the foetal circulations, separate days being used for each infusion. 2. Plasma glucose specific radioactivities at plateau were used to determine, for a two-pool model representing the glucose system of the mother and foetus, the rates of glucose production, utilization and recycling by the mother and by the foetus and the rates of transfer of glucose between the mother and foetus. 3. The net rate of glucose utilization by the foetus, which we have called the ‘foetal glucose requirement’, was 7.6 +/- 0.6 mg/min per kg of foetus (n = 8). Compared with the corresponding rate in the mother of 1.1 +/- 0.1 mg/min per kg of mother (n = 8), this indicated a high rate of foetal metabolism. 4. The net rate of foetal uptake of glucose from the mother accounted for only 69 +/- 5% of the foetal glucose requirement, and it has been argued that the remainder was supplied by foetal gluconeogenesis. 5. The rate of glucose recycling within the foetus was high, equal to 108 +/- 16% of the net foetal glucose-utilization rate. The significance of this in terms of either Cori or futile cycling is discussed.

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