Role of the Placenta in Fetal Thyroid Homeostasis

  • Charles H. Emerson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 161)


The placenta is usually regarded as a conduit through which maternal nutrients pass to the fetus, or as a barrier that allows for fetal development in an insulated environment. Thus, with respect to thyroid function, it is well known that the placenta transfers iodide to, and excludes thyrotropin from, the fetal circulation. It is less recognized that the placenta is a metabolically active organ, and that this activity is important for the conversion of fetal substrates. In order to relate this aspect of placenta physiology to fetal thyroid homeostasis it is necessary to first review thyroid hormone profiles and pharmacokinetics in the fetus.


Maternal Circulation Fetal Sheep Metabolic Clearance Rate Fetal Plasma Deiodinase Activity 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles H. Emerson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Massachusetts School of MedicineWorcesterUSA

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