UBC Undergraduate Research

Maternal and fetal placental regions in rats regulate corticosterone production via the 11β-HSD1 enzyme Mazurenko, Anna; Jung, Michelle; Salehzadeh, Melody; Soma, Kiran Kumar


Corticosterone (CORT) is a steroid hormone that regulates neurodevelopment in rats, but high pregnancy CORT levels are detrimental to the fetal brain. Fetal rats primarily receive CORT produced by enzymes in the maternal and fetal regions of the placenta. For example, the 11β-HSD1 enzyme produces CORT from its inactive metabolite, 11-dehydrocorticosterone (DHC). Since little is known about the role of 11β-HSD1 in different placental regions, we measured 11β-HSD1 activity in the maternal and fetal regions of rat placenta near birth. We incubated the placenta with DHC, then measured CORT produced using mass spectrometry. The data suggest that 11β-HSD1 activity is present in both regions. Future research can explore how placental derived CORT alters fetal neurodevelopment.

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