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Ciba Found Symp. 1995;183:198-207; discussion 207-11.

Interaction between the circadian clocks of mother and fetus.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Chronobiology, Children's Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.


In mammals, a unidirectional communication exists between the biological clocks of the mother and fetus. As a biological clock begins oscillating in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the fetus, redundant circadian signals entrain the fetal clock to the prevailing light-dark cycle. Recent studies have revealed an activatable dopamine system within the fetal hypothalamus which may serve as a final common pathway by which maternal signals entrain the fetus. An entrained biological clock during fetal life makes the developing mammal better prepared for life in the outside world.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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