Production of inhibin forms by the fetal membranes, decidua, placenta and fetus at parturition

Simon C Riley, Rosemary Leask, Claire Balfour, Janet E Brennand, Nigel P Groome

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Inhibins are regulators of paracrine and endocrine function during pregnancy, but their intrauterine sites of secretion are not well established. In amniotic fluid, inhibin A-, inhibin B- and inhibin pro-alphaC-containing isoforms were present in high concentrations, whereas in maternal serum, inhibin A and pro-alphaC forms were present in high amounts, with low concentrations of inhibin B. In fetal cord serum, inhibin pro-alphaC was present in all samples, inhibin B was detectable in male but not female fetuses, with no detectable inhibin A in either sex. From cultured explants, both inhibin A and B were secreted by chorion laeve, whereas only inhibin A was secreted by placenta, with both tissues secreting inhibin pro-alphaC. Only low concentrations of both dimeric inhibins and pro-alphaC forms were secreted by decidua parietalis and amnion. The dual perfused placental cotyledon secreted both inhibin A and pro-alphaC into maternal perfusate, but only inhibin pro-alphaC into the fetal circulation and less than to the maternal side. We conclude that trophoblast is the predominant source of dimeric inhibins, but with markedly different secretion depending on its intrauterine location. There was a significant decrease in inhibin A and pro-alphaC in amniotic fluid collected at term active labour compared to elective Caesarean section (P < 0.001). This may reflect a local change in inhibin/activin processing at labour, likely in chorion laeve trophoblast cells, which may be important in the paracrine control of the feto-maternal communication required to maintain pregnancy and initiate labour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-583
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000

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