Two neuroactive steroids in midpregnancy as measured in maternal and fetal sera and in amniotic fluid

Steroids. 2002 Apr;67(5):399-402. doi: 10.1016/s0039-128x(01)00196-9.


Allopregnanolone and pregnenolone sulfate, which are neuroactive steroids that differentially modulate the sensitivity of GABA(A) and NMDA receptors, were measured simultaneously in maternal and fetal sera and in amniotic fluid for the first time during the second trimester of gravidity. The study included 33 pregnant women, who underwent cordocentesis due to suspicion of fetal abnormality or alloimmunization. Allopregnanolone concentrations in maternal and fetal sera were similar and close to the previously found levels in healthy controls at 20 weeks of gestation The levels of pregnenolone sulfate in maternal serum were 2-3 times higher and in fetal serum, as much as 10-25 times higher than those found by others in the serum of healthy, non-pregnant women. A positive correlation between maternal and fetal allopregnanolone indicate similar 5alpha-reductase activities or the efficient transport of allopregnanolone between the two subjects. No correlation of pregnenolone sulfate levels between mother and fetus was found. This finding suggests the autonomous production of pregnenolone sulfate in mother and fetus.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / blood*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnanolone / blood*
  • Pregnenolone / blood*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • pregnenolone sulfate
  • Pregnenolone
  • Pregnanolone