Anterior Pituitary Function in Human Fetal Life

  • P. Franchimont
  • J. J. Legros
  • B. Deconinck
  • P. Demeyts
  • M. Goulart
  • J. M. Ketelslegers
  • C. Schaub
Part of the Symposion der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Endokrinologie in Ulm vom 26.—28. Februar 1970 book series (ENDOKRINOLOGIE, volume 16)


Anterior pituitary hormones appear very early in the human fetal hypophysis: HGH at 9 weeks, FSH at 14 weeks, LH at 18 weeks, TSH at 14–l6 weeks and ACTH at 16–22 weeks of gestation. These hypophyseal stimulins do not induce organ genesis but are necessary for further development of the already formed organs. Some mechanisms of secretion of these hormones are already identical to those operative in adults: increase in HGH in response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia; decrease in HGH in response to hyperglycemia produced by oral glucose load; negative feedback of the corticosteroids on ACTH secretion.

The levels of HGH, FSH, LH, TSH and ACTH in the serum of premature neonates are very high. The elevated HGH concentrations must be linked to the fall in blood sugar. With regard to serum FSH levels, which are higher in female than in male premature infants, these are elevated in comparison to maternal serum levels and the serum levels of normal one year-old children. Serum LH is probably of pituitary and placental origin. Serum TSH concentrations are high but are of the same order of magnitude as in normal full term neonates. Lastly, ACTH levels are often extremely high and may be correlated with the stress of delivery.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Franchimont
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. J. Legros
    • 1
    • 3
  • B. Deconinck
    • 1
    • 4
  • P. Demeyts
    • 1
    • 5
  • M. Goulart
    • 1
    • 6
  • J. M. Ketelslegers
    • 1
    • 7
  • C. Schaub
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine and Medical PathologyUniversity of LiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Radioimmunoassay Laboratory, Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Pathology (Prof. Van Cauwenberge)Hôpital de BavièreLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Pathology (Prof. Van Cauwenberge)Hôpital de BavièreLiègeBelgium
  4. 4.Hôtal Calmette (Prof. Gaudier)University >Department of Pediatrics, Hôpiof LilleFrance
  5. 5.Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Pathology (Prof. Van Cauwenberge)Hôpital de BavièreLiègeBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Medical ChemistrySecretaria SaudeRio de JaneiroBrazil
  7. 7.Department of Internal Medicine and Semiology (Prof. Nizet)Hôpital de BavièreLiègeBelgium
  8. 8.Department of Neurosurgery and Laboratory of PsychophysiologyUniversity of ParisFrance

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