Indexed on: 29 Sep '04Published on: 29 Sep '04Published in: Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Human placenta, decidua, and fetal membranes are the major sites of production and secretion of inhibin A and activin A in maternal serum, amniotic fluid, and umbilical cord blood. These tissues also express follistatin-related gene and betaglycan, the binding proteins of activin A and inhibin A, respectively, recently identified. They show a different expression throughout pregnancy, suggesting new functional roles into gestational tissues. The availability of suitable assays for measuring inhibin A and activin A lead us the possibility to investigate their secretion in healthy pregnancy. In addition, several evidences underline the potential role and the clinical usefulness of their measurement in the diagnosis, prevention, prognosis and follow-up of different gestational pathologies such as: threatened abortion, placental tumors, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, intrauterine growth restriction, fetal hypoxia. The measurement of inhibin A and activin A into the biological fluids of pregnancy will offer in the future further possibilities in early diagnosis, prediction, and monitoring pregnancy diseases.