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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Jan;86(1):104-9.

Fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress responses to invasive procedures are independent of maternal responses.

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1
Department of Maternal Medicine, Division of Paediatrics, Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, London W12 0NN, United Kingdom. r.gitau@ic.ac.uk

Abstract

Paired fetal and maternal samples were obtained, at fetal blood sampling and intrauterine transfusion, to study hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress responses. This confirmed that the fetus mounts an hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress response to transfusion via the intrahepatic vein, which involves piercing the fetal trunk, but not to transfusion via the placental cord insertion [mean cortisol response via intrahepatic vein delta = 52.6 nmol/L, 95% CI (25.3-79.9), P = 0.001; mean beta-endorphin response delta =106 pg/mL, 95% CI (45.3-167), P = 0.002]. Baseline maternal fetal ratios were 13 [95% CI (10.7-15.2)] for cortisol and 0.8 [95% CI (0.5-1.0)] for beta-endorphin. The novel findings were: 1) that the fetal responses were independent of those of the mother, which did not change during transfusion at either site; 2) that there was a correlation between baseline fetal and maternal cortisol levels (r = 0.58, n = 51, P < 0.0001) but not between baseline fetal and maternal ss-endorphin levels, suggesting cortisol transfer across the placenta, rather than joint control by placental CRH; and 3) that fetal beta-endorphin responses were apparent from 18 weeks gestation and independent of gestational age, whereas fetal cortisol responses were apparent from 20 weeks gestation and were dependent on gestational age (y = -91.4 + 5.08x, r = 0.51; n = 16; P = 0.04; CI for slope, 0.16-10.0), consistent with the maturation of the fetal pituitary before the fetal adrenal.

PMID:
11231985
DOI:
10.1210/jcem.86.1.7090
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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