Document Detail

Neuroendocrinology of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in pregnancy and the puerperium.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2039426     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Plasma cortisol, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), beta-endorphin and corticotrophin releasing hormone or factor (CRF) all rise progressively as pregnancy advances, and fall postnatally. The placenta produces large amounts of CRF in the third trimester and this is released into the maternal circulation. Present evidence suggests that it stimulates the maternal pituitary to produce ACTH while desensitizing the maternal pituitary to further stimulation with CRF. Maternal control of ACTH production is retained, allowing a persistent response to stress and a diurnal rhythm, perhaps through the secretion of vasopressin. The placenta also produces pro-opiomelanocortin peptides; however, the nature of the fragments produced from the precursor differs from that formed in the anterior pituitary of the mother and the role of these fragments in the control of maternal adrenal function is unclear. These changes in the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis during pregnancy are associated with loss of the normal suppression of cortisol by dexamethasone and elevated basal levels of cortisol with preservation of a diurnal rhythm, features also found in some patients with endogenous depression. Several studies have suggested a relationship between alterations in maternal concentrations of cortisol and beta-endorphin and the development of postnatal mood disturbances.
R Smith; M Thomson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Baillière's clinical endocrinology and metabolism     Volume:  5     ISSN:  0950-351X     ISO Abbreviation:  Baillieres Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.     Publication Date:  1991 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1991-07-02     Completed Date:  1991-07-02     Revised Date:  2005-11-16    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704785     Medline TA:  Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  167-86     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Adrenal Glands / physiology*
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology
Hydrocortisone / physiology
Hypothalamus / physiology*
Pituitary Gland / physiology*
Postpartum Period / physiology*,  psychology
Pregnancy / physiology*,  psychology
Pro-Opiomelanocortin / physiology
Reg. No./Substance:
50-23-7/Hydrocortisone; 66796-54-1/Pro-Opiomelanocortin; 9015-71-8/Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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