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Fetal Endocrine Signals and Preterm Labor

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aDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; bDepartments of Physiology and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Toronto and CIHR Group in Fetal and Neonatal Health and Development, CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, Canada

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Biol Neonate 2001;79:163–167

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Published online: March 23, 2001
Issue release date: April 2001

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 1661-7800 (Print)
eISSN: 1661-7819 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NEO

Abstract

Increased uterine contractility at term and preterm results from activation and then stimulation of the myometrium. Activation can be provoked by mechanical stretch of the uterus and by an endocrine pathway resulting from increased activity of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Cortisol, derived from the fetal adrenal in cases of intrauterine compromise or from the maternal adrenal in response to stress, or generated locally from cortisone in choriodecidual trophoblasts, provides a crucial link to uterine stimulation. Cortisol contributes to the increased production of prostaglandins (PGs) by fetal membranes and the decidua through the upregulation of PG synthase and the downregulation of PG dehydrogenase enzymes. Cortisol also stimulates placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) output, although CRH may both relax and stimulate uterine activity depending on the distribution and affinity of its receptor subtypes. Other agents such as cytokines may intercede in this sequence to stimulate PGs and/or CRH, giving rise to a cascade phenomenon that results in preterm birth.

© 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Published online: March 23, 2001
Issue release date: April 2001

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 1661-7800 (Print)
eISSN: 1661-7819 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NEO


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