Until recently our knowledge of the fetal endocrine system in the human and its normal development has been limited. We have had even less understanding of how the classical endocrine system with its blood-borne hormones, interacted with the paracrine system and its growth factors. In the last 10 years animal experimentation and epidemiological human studies have led to a dramatic increase in our knowledge and have revealed that the fetal endocrine system is not only pivotal to the fetus but casts exceptionally long shadows into adult life.
It appears that the maturing fetal endocrine system progressively develops feedback and regulatory mechanisms similar to those of the adult. However, the fetal endocrine system also has to incorporate an additional endocrine organ in the placenta, the steroidogenic zone in the adrenal cortex (fetal zone), and a contribution from the central nervous system, which in the fetus is probably capable both of the production of certain tropic hormones and of being a target organ for certain steroid hormones produced by the gonads, adrenal gland, and placenta.
KeywordsCongenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Congenital Hypothyroidism Endocrine Pancreas Diabetic Mother Hyperinsulinemic Hypoglycemia
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