Plasma immunoreactive (IR-) urocortin (Ucn) and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) levels in pregnant women were measured by their specific radioimmunoassays after extraction. Although plasma IR-CRF levels were increased in pregnant women as compared to men and non-pregnant women, there was no difference of plasma IR-Ucn levels among groups. Ucn mRNA was detected in cytotrophoblasts and syncytiotrophoblasts by in situ hybridization. A reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) showed the major peak of IR-Ucn in placenta and plasma that had similar chromatographic mobility to synthetic Ucn1-40. These data suggest that Ucn is produced and processed into the same form of synthetic Ucn in placenta, but not secreted into maternal blood.
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