Circulating Corticotropin-Releasing Factor in Pregnancy

  • E. A. Linton
  • C. D. A. Wolfe
  • D. P. Behan
  • P. J. Lowry
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 274)


Normal circulating levels of human corticotropin releasing factor (hCRF), the most potent of the hypothalamic peptides stimulating pituitary ACTH release (1) are low, most workers reporting levels substantially below 100 pg/ml (2–10). This plasma CRF is thought to originate not only from the hypothalamus but also from several tissues outside of the brain such as the spinal cord, alimentary tracts, lung, pancreas, and adrenal gland, which have all been shown to contain CRF-like immunoreactivity (11–14). Release of CRF from these organs is thought to contribute a significant proportion of the CRF in the peripheral circulation, since most studies have been unable to demonstrate modulation of plasma CRF by stress and glucocorticoids (3–5,9,15,16), which would be expected if plasma CRF primarily reflected peptide release from the hypothalamus. Following the demonstration of CRF-like bioactivity (17,18) in extracts of human placenta, several reports appeared describing elevated levels of CRF in the plasma of women in the third trimester of pregnancy (10,18–22). Great variation exists in the absolute levels of the peptide measured and this may reflect, in part, the different assay and extraction systems used.


Human Placenta Corticotrophin Release Factor Maternal Plasma Maternal Circulation Corticotrophin Release Factor mRNA 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. Linton
    • 1
  • C. D. A. Wolfe
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. P. Behan
    • 1
  • P. J. Lowry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry & Physiology School of Animal and Microbial SciencesUniversity of ReadingUK
  2. 2.Department of Community MedicineSt. Thomas’s Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK

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