Placental growth hormone (PGH) is the product of the GH-V gene, predominantly expressed in the syncytiotrophoblast layer of the human placenta. PGH differs from pituitary growth hormone by 13 amino acids and possesses one glycosylation site. It has high somatogenic and low lactogenic activities. In the maternal circulation from 12-20 weeks up to term, PGH gradually replaces pituitary growth hormone, which becomes undetectable. PGH is secreted by the placenta in a non-pulsatile manner. This continuous secretion appears to have important implications for physiological adjustment to gestation and especially in the control of maternal IGF1 levels. PGH secretion is regulated in vitro and in vivo by glucose. Lower maternal levels of PGH are observed in pregnancies with fetal growth retardation. PGH is one example of a trophoblast hormone, which allows maternal metabolic adaptation to pregnancy. In addition, our recent data on its expression in invasive extravillous trophoblasts suggest that the physiological role of PGH might also include a direct influence of this hormone on placental development via an autocrine or paracrine mechanism.
Copyright 2002 IFPA and Elsevier Science Ltd.