[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogen is a steroid hormone that regulates embryogenesis, cell proliferation and differentiation, organogenesis, the timing of parturition, and fetal imprinting by carrying chemical messages from glands to cells within tissues or organs in the body. During development, placenta is the primary source of estrogen production but estrogen can only be produced if the fetus or the mother supplies dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the estrogen prohormone. Studies show that the fetal zone of the fetal adrenal cortex supplies 60% of DHEA for placental estrogen production, and that placental estrogen in turn modulates the morphological and functional development of the fetal adrenal cortex. As such, in developed countries where humans are exposed daily to environmental estrogens, there is concern that the development of fetal adrenal cortex, and in turn, placental estrogen production may be disrupted. This paper discusses fetal adrenal gland development, how endogenous estrogen regulates the structure and function of the fetal adrenal cortex, and highlights the potential role that early life exposure to environmental estrogens may have on the development and endocrinology of the fetal adrenal cortex.
Journal of nutrition and metabolism 01/2012; 2012:837901.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preterm birth is a major cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Progesterone plays a critical role in suppressing the inflammatory signals that would induce parturition prior to term. Progesterone signaling is regulated in a variety of ways during pregnancy. Endocrine production of high levels of progesterone by the placenta ensures the availability of high levels of progesterone throughout pregnancy. Paracrine regulation of progesterone metabolism in target tissues, particularly the myometrium and cervix, also determines the amount of progesterone ligand available. Progesterone metabolism can also lead to the formation of metabolites that contribute to its effects. In particular, 5β-dihydroprogesterone formation by aldo-keto reductase 1D1 appears to play an important role in maintaining uterine quiescence. Progesterone signaling can also be regulated at the receptor level through changes in the relative expression of the nuclear progesterone receptor isoforms, reduced expression of membrane receptors, and changes in the expression levels of coactivators and/or corepressors, including nuclear factor κB. Progesterone and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17OH-PC) have recently been shown to reduce preterm births in women with previous preterm birth or shortened cervix. It is important to realize that these two progestins are likely to act in significantly different ways, which will likely influence their efficacy. The structural differences and resistance to metabolism exhibited by 17OH-PC means that it will be unable to activate some of the pathways that progesterone activates, but that it also will not be subject to paracrine inactivation. The fact that progesterone therapy works for maintaining pregnancy in some women, indicates that for those women insufficient levels of progesterone ligand in target tissues is a determining factor in early parturition, despite high levels of circulating progesterone. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Pregnancy and Steroids'.
The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology 02/2013; · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interfering with the normal physiological process of labor and birth in the absence of medical necessity increases the risk of complications for mother and baby. Six evidence-based care practices promote physiological birth: avoiding medically unnecessary induction of labor, allowing freedom of movement for the laboring woman, providing continuous labor support, avoiding routine interventions and restrictions, encouraging spontaneous pushing in nonsupine positions, and keeping mothers and babies together after birth without restrictions on breastfeeding. Nurses are in a unique position to provide these care practices and to help childbearing women make informed choices based on evidence.
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