Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Steroid hormone may be indicator of infant distress

Date:
June 17, 2013
Source:
Endocrine Society
Summary:
During labor and delivery, infants preferentially secrete a different stress hormone than their mothers do, according to a new clinical study.

During labor and delivery, infants preferentially secrete a different stress hormone than their mothers do, according to a new clinical study. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco and published in the open access journal, PLoS One.

A primary component of good pregnancy care is the ability to quickly recognize and respond to fetal distress. Since the stress hormone cortisol is found in much higher concentrations than the hormone corticosterone, it has received greater attention as an indicator of stress in both mothers and newborns. At the same time, the role of cortisol's less well-known relative, corticosterone, in signaling fetal distress has remained unclear.

In this study, investigators found compared the concentrations of hormones in the umbilical artery and umbilical vein to assess the hormones added to the circulation by the baby. Corticosterone increased during labor and delivery at a significantly greater rate compared to cortisol, although overall cortisol levels were still higher. Specifically, corticosterone concentrations increased by 148 percent, compared to 49 percent for cortisol. As fetal stress increased, so did corticosterone concentrations.

"Fetal corticosterone could serve as a biomarker of fetal stress," said study lead author Katherine E. Wynne-Edwards, PhD, Jack Manns Professor of Comparative Endocrinology at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Corticosterone concentrations also varied according to whether the delivery was vaginal or surgical. Compared to infants delivered by Caesarian section, vaginally delivered infants synthesized greater concentrations of corticosterone. When Caesarian delivery occurred because the baby's head was too large to pass through the birth canal, which was expected to be a stressor on the baby, the highest corticosterone concentrations were seen. On the other hand, interventions to strengthen maternal contractions did not increase corticosterone concentrations.

"Newborn corticosterone synthesis might be the basis for a signal to the mother that the baby is in distress, and might also indicate that a previously unsuspected developmental transition from preferential corticosterone synthesis to preferential cortisol synthesis occurs in early life," Wynne-Edwards said. "If so, then corticosterone might be an important biomarker of adrenal function in premature infants that is not yet studied or understood."

Investigators compared blood concentrations of corticosterone and cortisol, quantified by mass spectrometry, from 300 participants admitted for labor and delivery. After excluding mothers who delivered pre-term or multiple births, investigators analyzed umbilical cord blood samples from 265 healthy deliveries.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and an Alberta Advanced Education and Technology grant, through the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary, funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Endocrine Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine E. Wynne-Edwards, Heather E. Edwards, Trina M. Hancock. The Human Fetus Preferentially Secretes Corticosterone, Rather than Cortisol, in Response to Intra-Partum Stressors. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (6): e63684 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063684

Cite This Page:

Endocrine Society. "Steroid hormone may be indicator of infant distress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617110939.htm>.
Endocrine Society. (2013, June 17). Steroid hormone may be indicator of infant distress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617110939.htm
Endocrine Society. "Steroid hormone may be indicator of infant distress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617110939.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins