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Pre-eclampsia is a principal cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, affecting 5-10% of first pregnancies worldwide. Manifestations include increased blood pressure, proteinuria, coagulopathy and peripheral and cerebral oedema. Although the aetiology and pathogenesis remain to be elucidated, the placenta is undoubtedly involved, as termination of(More)
We report the existence of a 'placental clock', which is active from an early stage in human pregnancy and determines the length of gestation and the timing of parturition and delivery. Using a prospective, longitudinal cohort study of 485 pregnant women we have demonstrated that placental secretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is a marker of(More)
CRF circulates in high concentration in pregnant woman. It is produced by the placenta and the other intrauterine tissues (maternal decidua, amnion, and chorion). Recently, a CRF-binding protein (CRF-BP) has been identified and cloned. It binds the circulating CRF, reducing its biological action during pregnancy. Liver is the major source of CRF-BP. The aim(More)
Neurochemical and pharmacological evidence has been obtained that noradrenergic varicosities (in mouse and rat vas deferens) and cholinergic varicosities (in the Auerbach's plexus) contain heterogenous alpha2-adrenoceptors through which the release of [3H]noradrenaline and [3H]acetylcholine can be modulated. The quantitative data also support the hypothesis(More)
The adrenal gland requires stimuli from peptides derived from the ACTH precursor, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), to maintain its tonic state. Studies have proposed that a specific postsecretional cleavage of the nonmitogenic N-terminal 16 kDa fragment, also known as pro-gamma-melanotropin (pro-gamma-MSH), is required, releasing shorter fragments that promote(More)
Previously the function of hormone binding proteins has been viewed entirely as one of either sequestering ligand activity or of delivering ligand to target tissues. However, some binding proteins have the ability when complexed with ligand to interact directly with target tissues and can undergo considerable post-translational and post-secretional(More)
Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is a 41-amino acid neurohormone involved in the neuroendocrine response to stress, also playing a role in cell-mediated immune functions and in inflammation. In the light of recent evidence showing an association between endometriosis and altered cellular immunity factors, the present study investigates immunoreactive(More)
Corticotropin-releasing factor-binding protein (CRF-BP) is suggested to play a role in modulating the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis during pregnancy, counteracting the actions of circulating or locally acting CRF. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether maternal levels of CRF-BP and CRF are modified in pregnant women with(More)
Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-binding protein (CRF-BP) modulates the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis during pregnancy, counteracting the actions of circulating or locally produced CRF. The aim of the present study was to evaluate CRF and CRF-BP levels in amniotic fluid of healthy pregnant women during the last 4 weeks of gestation(More)
Late in the last trimester of human pregnancy, as plasma CRH levels rise, the concentration of circulating CRH-binding protein (CRH-BP) falls. We have investigated, using nonpregnant subjects, the hypothesis that CRH has a negative effect on plasma levels of CRH-BP. A specific RIA developed with the aid of recombinant binding protein has been used to(More)