, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 91–102

Placental stress factors and maternal-fetal adaptive response

The corticotropin-releasing factor family
  • Pasquale Florio
  • Filiberto M. Severi
  • Pasquapina Ciarmela
  • Giovina Fiore
  • Giulia Calonaci
  • Angelica Merola
  • Claudio De Felice
  • Marco Palumbo
  • Felice Petraglia


The placenta and its accessory membranes amnion and chorion undertake the role of intermediary barriers and active messengers in the maternal-fetal dialog. They synthesize, metabolize, and serve as target to numerous hormones that regulate maternal and fetal physiology during pregnancy. Among these factors, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) has been one of the more investigated in the last decade. Increasing evidence indicates that in the event of acute or chronic metabolic, physical, or infectious stress, maternal or fetal physiologic and pathologic conditions may influence placental secretion of CRF. The current opinion is that the placenta actually takes part in a stress syndrome by releasing CRF, which may help to influence uterine perfusion, maternal metabolism, fluid balance, and possibly uterine contractility, thereby protecting the fetus from a hostile environment.

Key Words

Corticotropin-releasing factor urocortin syncytrotrophoblast adrenocorticotropic hormone parturition preeclampsia 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pasquale Florio
    • 1
  • Filiberto M. Severi
    • 1
  • Pasquapina Ciarmela
    • 1
  • Giovina Fiore
    • 1
  • Giulia Calonaci
    • 1
  • Angelica Merola
    • 1
  • Claudio De Felice
    • 3
  • Marco Palumbo
    • 2
  • Felice Petraglia
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Microbiological and Gynecological ScienceUniversity of CataniaSiena and CataniaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Reproductive MedicineUniversity of Siena, Policlinico “Le Scotte”SienaItaly

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