Placental Protein Hormones (hCG and hPL)

  • Tim Chard
  • Arnold Klopper


The human placenta secretes a range of protein and small peptide hormones. The latter, which include corticotrophin (ACTH) and releasing factors, are only of academic interest and will not be discussed here. The larger protein hormones [human placental lactogen (hPL) ; human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)] are the subjects of this chapter. Both are widely used in routine clinical practice, but for very different applications. Thus, hPL is a classic ‘placental function test’ in the sense of ascertaining fetal wellbeing in late pregnancy, whereas hCG is primarily employed as a ‘pregnancy test’ or for the monitoring of trophoblastic tumours. However, the applications overlap to the extent that both have been used for the monitoring of abnormalities of early pregnancy, in particular threatened abortion.


Obstet Gynecol Early Pregnancy Corpus Luteum Late Pregnancy Placental Lactogen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aschheim S, Zondek B (1927) Hypophysen vorderlappenhormon und ovarialhormon im Harn von Schwangeren. Link Wschr 6: 1322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bagshawe KD, Searle F, Wass M (1979) Human chorionic gonadotrophin. In: Gray CH, James VHT (eds) Hormones in blood. Academic Press, London, pp 364–411Google Scholar
  3. Chard T (1979) Human placental lactogen. In: Gray CH, James VHT (eds) Hormones in blood. Academic Press, London, pp 333–363Google Scholar
  4. Chard T (1981) Synthesis of placental lactogen by human placentae. In: Fotherby K, Pal SB (eds) Hormones in normal and abnormal human tissues, vol I. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 409–428Google Scholar
  5. Daikoku NH, Tyson JE, Graf C, Scott R, Smith B, Johnston JWC, King TM (1979) The relative significance of human placental lactogen in the diagnosis of retarded fetal growth. J Obst Gynecol 135: 516Google Scholar
  6. Dhont M, Thiery M, Vandekerckhove D, van Cauwenberghe A (1975) Klinische waarde van de radioimmunoassav van placentaire eiwithormonen in der verloskunde. Tijdschr voor Geneesk 22: 1097Google Scholar
  7. Ehrhardt K (1936) Über das Laktations Hormon des Hypophysen-Vorderlappens. Münch Med Wschr 83: 1163Google Scholar
  8. Garoff L, Seppälä M (1973) Alphafetoprotein and human placental lactogen levels in maternal serum in multiple pregnancies. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 86: 695–700Google Scholar
  9. Gaspard U (1980) Les hormones protéiques placentaires. Masson, ParisGoogle Scholar
  10. Grudzinskas JG, Gordon YB, Wadsworth J, Menabawey M, Chard T (1981) Is placental function testing worthwhile? An update on placental lactogen. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 21: 103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ito Y, Higashi K (1961) Studies on the prolactin-like substance in human placenta. Endocrinol Jpn 8: 279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Josimovich JB, MacLaren JA, (1962) Presence in the human placenta and term serum of a highly lactogenic substance immunologically related to pituitary growth hormone. Endocrinology 71: 209CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Jouppila P, Tapanainen J, Huhtanieni I (1979) Plasma hCG levels in patients with bleeding in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 86; 343CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Keller PJ, Bader P, Schmid J, Baertschi U, Gerber C, Soltermann R, Kopper E (1971) Biochemical detection of fetoplacental distress in risk pregnancies. Lancet ii: 729Google Scholar
  15. Kelly AM, England P, Lorimer JD, Fergusson JC, Govan ADT (1975) An evaluation of human placental lactogen levels in hypertension of pregnancy. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 82: 272CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Lee JN, Grudzinskas JG, Chard T (1980) Circulating placental lactogen (hPL) levels in relation to smoking during pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol 1: 87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Letchworth AT (1976) Human placental lactogen assay as a guide to fetal well-being. In: Klopper A (ed) Plasma hormone assays in evaluation of fetal wellbeing. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, pp 147–173Google Scholar
  18. Letchworth AT, Chard T (1972) Placental lactogen levels as a screening test for fetal distress and neonatal asphyxia. Lancet i: 704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Letchworth AT, Bardman RJ, Bristow C, Landon J, Chard T (1971) A rapid semi-automated method for the measurement of human chorionic somatomammotrophin. The normal range in the third trimester and its relation to fetal weight. J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonwealth 78: 542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lolis, D, Konstantinidis K, Paperangelou G, Kaskarelis D (1977) Comparative study of amniotic fluid and maternal blood serum hormone placental lactogen in normal and prolonged pregnancies. J Obstet Gynecol 128: 724Google Scholar
  21. Morrison I, Green P, Oomen B (1980) The role of human placental lactogen assays in ante- partum fetal assessment. Am J Obstet Gynecol 136: 1055PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Nielsen PV, Pedersen H, Kampmann E-M (1979) Absence of human placental lactogen in an otherwise uneventful pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 135: 322PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Niven PAR, Landon J, Chard T (1972) Placental lactogen levels as a guide to outcome of threatened abortion. Br Med J ii: 799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pavlou C, Chard T, Letchworth AT (1972) Circulating levels of human chorionic somatomam- motrophin in late pregnancy: disappearance from the circulation after delivery, variation during labour, and circadian variation. J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonwealth 79: 629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Samaan N, Gallagher H, McRoberts W, Farris A (1971) Serial estimations of human placental lactogen (hPL), estriol and pregnanediol in pregnancy correlated with whole organ section of placenta. Am J Obstet Gynecol 109: 53–73Google Scholar
  26. Saxena BB, Hasan SH, Haour F, Gollwitzer MS (1974) Radioreceptor assay of human chorionic gonadotrophin: Early detection of pregnancy. Science 184: 793CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Seppälä M, Ruoslahti E (1970) Serum concentrations of human placental lactogenic hormone (hPL) in pregnancy complications. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 49: 143–147CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Seppälä M, Tontti K, Ranta T, Stenman UH, Chard T (1980) Use of a rapid hCG-beta-subunit radioimmunoassay in acute gynaecological emergencies. Lancet i: 165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Spellacy WN, Teoh ES, Buhi WC, Birk SA, McCreary SA (1971) Value of human chorionic somatomammotropin in managing high-risk pregnancies. Am J Obstet Gynecol 109: 588PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Spellacy WN, Buhi WC, Birk SA (1975) The effectiveness of human placental lactogen as an adjunct in decreasing perinatal deaths. Am J Obstet Gynecol 121: 835PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Ursell W, Brudenell M, Chard T (1973) Placental lactogen levels in diabetic pregnancy. Br Med J ii: 80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Van Leusden HA (1976) Chorionic gonadotrophin in pathological pregnancy. In: Klopper A (ed) hormone assays in evaluation of fetal wellbeing. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, pp 48–71Google Scholar
  33. Vorster CZ, Pannali PR, Slabber CF (1977) The prognostic value of serum human placental lactogen determinations in early pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 128: 879PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Ward RHT, Letchworth AT, Niven PAR, Chard T (1974) Placental lactogen levels in Rhesus iso-immunisation. Br Med J i: 347CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Chard
    • 1
  • Arnold Klopper
    • 2
  1. 1.St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyRoyal InfirmaryAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations