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Title: The control of placental corticotrophin-releasing hormone and adrenocorticotrophic hormone production
Author: Cooper, Elizabeth Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The cellular localisation of placental CRH has previously been investigated using immunocytochemistry, but results are conflicting. The results discussed in this thesis are in agreement with the more recent of these studies. Immunoreactive CRH was localised to the syncytiotrophoblasts of the placenta and to the amnion, chorion and decidua throughout gestation. These studies are the first to localise POMC gene expression within the placenta by in situ hybridisation. In combination with immunocytochemistry both mRNA transcribed from the gene, and the gene product translated from the mRNA can be identified. The results of these studies provide very strong evidence that POMC is synthesised in cytotrophoblasts in the first trimester, and syncytiotrophoblasts thereafter. In addition both POMC mRNA and immunopositive staining were found in amnion and chorion. The placental ACTH content increased with advancing gestation, and this finding was supported by both an increase in immunostaining and POMC gene expression over this period. Placental ACTH content, immunostaining and POMC gene expression were unaffected by labour, the administration of prostaglandins in the first trimester and at term, or by the administration of mifepristone in the first trimester. Thus both CRH and ACTH appear to be constitutively present in the placenta throughout gestation. These results suggest that these peptides may have other roles during pregnancy rather than being simply related to parturition. They contribute to the normal endocrine environment of the placenta and may have a 'housekeeping' role through pregnancy. In addition, they may also enter the fetal circulation influencing its hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and may potentially affect the maturation of other important organs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available