Follistatin is a specific binding protein which controls bioavailability of activins and inhibins which have an important role in fetal development. In the first trimester of pregnancy bioactive dimeric inhibins are found at high concentrations in the extra-embryonic coelomic fluid, but the distribution of follistatin and activins is not known. We have used recently developed immunoassays for follistatin, activin A and activin AB to determine their presence in the intrauterine compartments during early pregnancy. Follistatin was present in highest concentrations in the extra-embryonic coelomic fluid (11.72 +/- 1.70 ng/ml; median +/- SEM), with less in maternal serum (6.35 +/- 4.58) and lowest amounts in amniotic fluid (0.97 +/- 0.52). Follistatin concentrations in extra-embryonic coelomic fluid were highly correlated with both dimeric inhibin isoforms. Activin A was present in only barely detectable amounts in some samples of extra-embryonic coelomic fluid (41% of samples) and maternal serum (26%) and was undetectable in all amniotic fluid samples. Activin AB was undetectable in all compartments. The presence of follistatin in the amniotic and extra-embryonic coelomic fluids may regulate the availability of bioactive activins and inhibins which are released into the intrauterine compartments during the development of the fetus and placenta in early pregnancy.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1998|