Background: Since its discovery, several distinct effects of pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) have been established - predominantly in animal studies - in the nervous system, various peripheral organs as well as in the endocrine regulation. It is unknown whether PACAP has any effect on human pregnancy regarding either utero-maternal or perinatal aspects of the gestation. Aim: We investigated alterations of PACAP38-like immunoreactivity (PACAP38-LI) in the human plasma throughout normal pregnancy, during and after delivery, and its level in the umbilical vessels, as well as in the peripheral blood of term healthy newborns. Materials and methods: A 2 ml blood sample was used for each test, PACAP38-LI was determined by radioimmunoassay. Results: In the 2nd and 3rd trimester significant elevation was observed in the PACAP38-LI compared to the earlier gestation and non-pregnant conditions. During delivery its level significantly decreased and returned to the original values 3 days after birth. In the neonates PACAP38-LI level of the peripheral blood was similar to that of healthy adults, but umbilical arteries and veins contained significantly lower concentrations of PACAP38-LI. Besides, the levels were lower in the umbilical vein compared to the artery. Conclusions: PACAP38-LI levels show sensitive change during normal pregnancy and delivery. Our findings suggest that the fetal organs actively synthesize PACAP. Further investigations are required to elucidate the physiological importance of the alterations observed.
- Umbilical vessels
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism