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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
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June 25, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable, and they are also
dangerous for the mother and without proper treatment, can lead to her death.


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Hormone May Help Predict Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy

New study shows the hormone adrenomedullin plays significant role in tubal ectopic pregnancies

Tubal ectopic pregnancy (TEP) is currently the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths during the first trimester and a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that the hormone adrenomedullin (ADM) may help predict this condition.


TEP is a condition where the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes instead of in the uterus.

In pregnant women, cilia (small protuberances lining the fallopian tubes) pulsate, or beat, to propel an embryo through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus.

Defects in ciliary beats and muscle contractions may predispose a woman to TEP.

With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable, and they are also dangerous for the mother and without proper treatment, can lead to her death.


“This is the first report to address the effect of ADM on cilia beat frequency and muscular contraction in the oviduct,” says the lead author of this study, Wai-Sum O, PhD, of the University of Hong Kong.

“We found that low ADM expression may contribute to slower muscle contraction and ciliary beating, which hampers embryo transport and favors embryo retention in the oviduct. This finding is significant because plasma ADM levels may be useful in predicting TEP."

In this study, researchers examined women who were having their fallopian tubes removed or were having a hysterectomy for non-cancerous reasons.

Each participant had tissue from their oviduct incubated in conditions to replicate the hormonal state of early pregnancy. In the oviducts of patients who had TEP, the ciliary beats were slower, the muscle contractions were less frequent, and there were lower levels of ADM than in the oviducts from a normal pregnancy. Administering ADM reversed the retardation of ciliary beating and muscle contraction and restored them to normal levels.

“We reported for the first time a significantly reduced expression of ADM in human oviduct tissue in TEP compared to control,” said Wai-Sum O. “ADM increases cilia motility, smooth muscle tone and contraction frequency, and the reduced ADM level in TEP may contribute to its pathogenesis by impairing embryo transport.”

Other researchers working on the study include: Liao SB, Li HWR, Ho JC, Yeung WSB, Ng EHY, Cheung ANY, and Tang F, all of The University of Hong Kong.

The article, “Possible role of adrenomedullin in the pathogenesis of tubal ectopic pregnancy,” appears in the June 2012 issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 15,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Together, these members represent all basic, applied, and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Md. To learn more about the Society, and the field of endocrinology, visit our web site at www.endo-society.org.

Original article: http://www.endo-society.org/media/press/2012/Hormone-May-Help-Predict-Tubal-Ectopic-Pregnancy.cfm