Adrenomedullin: multiple functions in human pregnancy.
Wilson C., Nikitenko LL., Sargent IL., Rees MCP.
Adrenomedullin is a 52 amino acid peptide originally isolated from human phaeochromocytoma in 1993. It was initially demonstrated to have profound effects on the vasculature including vasodilatation and subsequently promotion of angiogenesis. Since then it has become apparent that it has a wide range of other biological actions including regulation of cell growth and differentiation. Successful pregnancy outcome relies on establishing and maintaining throughout gestation an efficient blood supply to the fetus. This allows the exchange of nutrients, oxygenation of fetal blood and removal of cytotoxins from the fetus, such as carbon dioxide. One of the most important local adaptations to pregnancy is the change in maternal blood flow to the implantation site. Evidence now points towards a vital role for adrenomedullin in the regulation of placentation. It appears that adrenomedullin may play important roles in the regulation of fetal perfusion both in normal and in compromised pregnancies. However, most studies have focused on measuring adrenomedullin levels and studying its expression as well as that of its receptors. More functional studies are now required to elucidate the underlying mechanisms involved.