Transfer of nutrients and waste
products b\n the mother & fetus.
Produces or metabolizes the hormones
& enzymes necessary to maintain the
Transport is facilitated by the close
approximation of maternal and fetal
vascular systems within the placenta.
It is important to recognize that there
normally is no mixing of fetal and
maternal blood within the placenta.
Respiratory function—Intake of o2 &
output of co2 takes place by simple
diffusion.o2 supply to fetus rate of
5ml/kg/min & this achieved with cord
flow of 165-330ml/min.
Excretory function—waste products
urea, uric acid,creatinine are excreted to
maternal blood by simple diffusion.
Glucose is the major energy substrate
provided to the placenta and fetus. It is
transported across the placenta by facilitated
diffusion via hexose transporters
Although the fetus receives large amounts of
intact glucose, a large amount is oxidized
within the placenta to lactate, which is used
for fetal energy production.
Amino acid concentrations in fetal blood are
higher than in maternal blood. Amino acids
are therefore transported to the fetus by
active transport .
LIPIDS—TG`s & FA directly transported from
mother to fetus in early pregnancy but
synthesised in fetus later in pregnancy.
Thus,fetal fat has got dual origin.
Water & electrolytes—Na,K+,Cl- by
simple diffusion.Ca,Ph,iron by active
barrier to the fetus against noxious
agents circulating in maternal
blood.(High MW >500daltons.
Fetus & placenta contain paternally
determined antigens,foreign to the mother .
Inspite of this ,no evidence of graft rejection.
1. Fibrinoid & sialomucin coating of
trophoblast may suppress the troblastic
2. Placental hormones ,steriods,HCG have got
weak immunosuppressive effect,may be
responsible for producing sialomucin.
3.Nitabuch`s layer which intervenes b\n decidua
basalis &cytotrophoblast probably
inactivates the antigenic property of tissue.
4.There is little HLA & blood group antigens on
trophoblast surface.so antigenic stimulus is
5. Production of block antibodies by mother
,protects fetus from rejection.
HORMONE--Any organic chemical that
is secreted by a gland into the
circulatory system and is transported to
some target organ. The target may be
either peripheral tissue (such as muscle
or other gland) or brain.
Fetal, placental & maternal compartments
form an integrated hormonal unit
The feto-placental-maternal (FPM) unit
that maintains and drives the processes of
pregnancy and pre-natal development.
Human Chorionic Estrogen (E)
Human Chorionic Progesterone (P)
Somammotropin (hCS) HYPOTHALAMIC-LIKE
or Placental Lactogen(hPL) RELEASING HORMONES
OTHER HORMONES GnRH
Inhibin & Activin
To understand the FPM one
1. The major hormones involved:
Human Chorionic Somatomammotropin (hCS)
2. How the FPM compartments work together
to produce the steroid hormones
3. The transfer of hormones between
the FPM compartments.
Half life –24hrsof hCG
Levels peak at 60-70 days then remain at a
low plateau for the rest of pregnancy.
Placental GnRH have control of hCG.
1. RESCUE &MAINTENANCE of function of
Prevents degeneration of corpus luteum
Stimulates corpus luteum to secrete E + P
which, in turn, stimulate continual growth of
2.hCG stimulates leydig cells of male fetus to
produce testosterone in conjunction with
fetal pituitary gonadotrophins.Thus indirectly
involed in development of external genitalia.
3. Suppresses maternal immune function
& reduces possibility of fetus
or Placental Lactogen
Structure similar to growth hormone
Produced by the placenta
Levels throughout pregnancy
Large amounts in maternal blood but
DO NOT reach the fetus
or Placental Lactogen
Biological effects are reverse of those of
insulin: utilization of lipids;
make glucose more readily available to
fetus, and for milk production.
hCS levels proportionate to placental size
hCS levels placental
FORMS-estriol,estradiol &estrone .
Estriol most important .
Levels increase throughout pregnancy
90% produced by
Placental production is transferred to
both maternal and fetal compartments
Two of the principle effects of placental
Stimulate growth of the myometrium and
antagonize the myometrial-suppressing
activity of progesterone. In many species, the
high levels of estrogen in late gestation
induces myometrial oxytocin receptors,
thereby preparing the uterus for parturition.
Stimulate mammary gland development.
Estrogens are one in a battery of hormones
necessary for both ductal and alveolar growth
in the mammary gland.
Levels increase throughout pregnancy
80-90% is produced by placenta and
secreted to both fetus and mother
Progestins, including progesterone, have
two major roles during pregnancy:
Support of the endometrium to provide an
environment conducive to fetal survival. If the
endometrium is deprived of progestins, the
pregnancy will inevitably be terminated.
Suppression of contractility in uterine
smooth muscle, which, if unchecked, would
clearly be a disaster. This is often called the
"progesterone block" on the myometrium.
Toward the end of gestation, this myometrial-
quieting effect is antagonized by rising levels
of estrogens, thereby facilitating parturition.
Progesterone and other progestins also
potently inhibit secretion of the pituitary
gonadotropins luteinizing hormone and
follicle stimulating hormone. This effect
almost always prevents ovulation from
occuring during pregnancy
FETAL ADRENAL GLAND
Vital to organism survival
Begins to develop at 4th week of embryonic life
Functional around 10th to 12th week of embryonic
Enzymes necessary for biosynthesis of
adrenocortical hormones do not develop
hCG may have a role in stimulating Adrenocortical
Originates from nervous system
Ganglia of Autonomic Nervous System
Fetal Adrenal Cortex
Has enzymes to convert Pregnenalone to:
Converts Pregnenalone and Progesterone
to 17OH-Pre and 17OH-Pro
17OH-Pro is converted to cortisol (major
Converts 17OH-Pre into DHEA and