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Longitudinal assessment of changes in reproductive hormones during normal pregnancy

O'Leary, P., Boyne, P., Flett, P., Beilby, J. and James, I. (1991) Longitudinal assessment of changes in reproductive hormones during normal pregnancy. Clinical Chemistry, 37 (5). pp. 667-672.

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The concentrations of hormones measured in serum from maternal blood change dramatically during pregnancy. While the relative contributions of sex steroids shift from maternal ovaries and adrenals to the fetoplacental unit, other maternal tissues such as pituitary and liver respond to increasing concentrations of estrogen and secrete increasing amounts of prolactin and sex-hormone-binding globulin. To determine longitudinal changes in circulating maternal hormones, we collected blood from 60 women on three occasions during their pregnancies. We observed a 1.7-fold increase in testosterone concentration in serum; concentrations of sex-hormone-binding globulin in serum rose 5.6-fold. The major increase (6.8-fold) in estradiol in serum occurred within the first 16 weeks, followed by a further 4.8-fold increase by term. Mean concentrations of progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and androstenedione in serum increased 11.9-, 3-, and 1.3-fold, respectively, whereas concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) fell by 50%. Mean serum prolactin concentrations increased 3.8-fold during the first trimester and by a similar amount during the final 24 weeks of pregnancy. We used these data, obtained from a cohort of women with uncomplicated pregnancies, to construct reference intervals for hormones in maternal serum.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American Association for Clinical Chemistry Inc
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