The Sympathoadrenal System in the Fetal-Placental Unit

  • Yi-Tang Tseng
  • James F. Padbury


Functional development of the sympathoadrenal system is critical to successful fetal and neonatal survival and maturation. During intrauterine life a high degree of sympathetic tone is critical to maintenance of cardiovascular, endocrine, and metabolic homeostasis. At birth, the neonate must successfully initiate air breathing, convert to circulation in series, and sustain energy autonomy and temperature regulation. This chapter reviews relevant concepts in the maturation of the sympathoadrenal system. Because the newest data pertain to novel aspects of catecholamine (CA) metabolism in utero, unique mechanisms for regulation of adrenergic receptors, and developmental aspects of receptor coupling to second messenger systems, these areas are emphasized. Whenever possible, data available for the human are presented. Data from animal studies are used to provide insight not available from human data. The data on neuroanatomic organization and regulation of phenotypic expression in the sympathoadrenal system has been reviewed elsewhere.1–5 The reader is also referred to past reviews on functional aspects of sympathoadrenal system activity during the transition from fetal to newborn life.


Thyroid Hormone Receptor RNase Protection Assay Fetal Sheep Sympathoadrenal System Turkey Erythrocyte 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Tang Tseng
  • James F. Padbury

There are no affiliations available

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