Developmental Considerations

The Fetal and Neonatal Endocrine Response to Stress
  • C. Richard ParkerJr.
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE, volume 4)


The morphologic and physiologic bases for an endocrine response to critical illnesses, which is an important adaptive mechanism for homeostatic balance and recovery during postnatal life, are established during fetal development and in many instances become competent prior to birth. This chapter will explore the structural and functional development of several key elements of the endocrine system during intrauterine life and in infancy. Although clearly of importance in homeostasis and response to illness, the endocrine pancreas, parathyroid, and gastrointestinal hormone systems will not be addressed herein. Additionally, development and regulation of the gonads, which are adversely impacted by many illnesses, will not be discussed since their responses do not appear to be of critical importance to survival in serious illnesses. Rather, emphasis will be placed on the development of hypothalamic endocrine control, the anterior and posterior pituitary, adrenal cortex, adrenal medulla, and thyroid.


Thyroid Hormone Adrenal Medulla Posterior Pituitary Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Richard ParkerJr.

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