Measurement of Serum Concentrations og Inhibin-A (ALPHA-BETA(A) DIMER) During Human-Pregnancy

S MUTTUKRISHNA, L GEORGE, Paul Alfred Francois Fowler, N P GROOME, G Knight

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE The aims were to measure concentrations of inhibin-A (alpha-beta(A) dimer) in peripheral serum during normal human pregnancy, to establish which molecular weight form(s) are present in pregnancy serum and to relate the concentrations of inhibin-A to those of oestradiol and progesterone.

DESIGN In a retrospective cross-sectional study 211 serum samples collected at 2-week intervals from week 8 to 38 of gestation were analysed for inhibin-A by enzyme immunoassay and oestradiol and progesterone by radioimmunoassay. Pooled samples corresponding to first, second and third trimester were subsequently used for fast protein liquid chromatography chromatographic analysis of inhibin forms present.

PATIENTS Blood samples were obtained from normal pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic.

RESULTS Concentrations of inhibin-A in peripheral serum gradually decreased from 1.76+/-0.15 mu g/l in week 8 of gestation to 0.86+/-0.12 mu g/l in week 16 (P < 0.01). Concentrations remained low during the second trimester but increased markedly (P < 0.01) during the third trimester reaching a maximal value of 5.68+/-0.89 mu g/l in week 36. Chromatographic analysis of pooled serum samples from the first, second and third trimester showed that the fully processed 31-kDa molecule is the predominant circulating form of inhibin-A throughout human gestation. Likewise, only the 31-kDa form was identified in extracts of term placenta which contained similar to 20 mu g inhibin-A/kg tissue.

CONCLUSION Inhibin-A, principally the 31-kDa form, is present in peripheral blood throughout human gestation at concentrations up to 50 times greater than maximum values found during the spontaneous menstrual cycle (similar to 100 ng/l). The finding of highest serum values during the third trimester and of significant concentrations in term placenta firmly support a placental rather than luteal origin for this material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Volume42
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1995

Keywords

  • bovine follicular-fluid
  • human corpus-luteum
  • immunoreactive inhibin
  • alpha-subunit
  • immunoactive inhibin
  • menstrual-cycle
  • human-placenta
  • localization
  • secretion
  • progesterone

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