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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Jan;82(1):218-22.

Dimeric inhibins in amniotic fluid, maternal serum, and fetal serum in human pregnancy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


Using new specific and sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for inhibin A and inhibin B, we measured these proteins in amniotic fluid (AF), maternal serum (MS), and umbilical cord serum in normal pregnancies. Inhibin A levels in AF rose from a median (10-90th percentile) level of 615 (158.2-1124.6) pg/mL at 14 weeks to 1336.0 (489.4-2084.1) pg/mL at 20 weeks, and inhibin B rose from 216.6 (67.4-554.6) to 1078.2 (439.3-2482.2) pg/mL over the same period. In MS, inhibin A levels fell from a median (10-90th percentile) level of 177.5 (101.4-290.7) pg/mL at 10 weeks to a nadir of 111.9 (59.5-200.3) pg/mL at 17 weeks, rising again to 180.3 (74.1-327.2) pg/mL at 20 weeks. No inhibin B was detectable in MS. In 47 pairs of matched samples (14-16 weeks gestation) there was no correlation of inhibin A levels in AF with those in MS (r = 0.19; P > 0.05). In 45 term umbilical cord serum samples, no dimeric inhibin was detectable in serum from female babies, but inhibin B was detectable in male sera; the median (10-90th percentile) concentration was 167.4 (111.2-224.8) pg/mL. These data suggest that for the gestation periods studied, although the placenta secretes inhibin A, another source, probably the fetal membranes, secretes both inhibin A and inhibin B. Further, the presence of inhibin B in male fetuses is consistent with a testicular origin, suggesting that inhibin B may be important in the development of the fetal hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular axis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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