Fetal endocrinology

Sean W. Limesand, Melissa A. Davis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The endocrine system is essential for the growth and development of the fetus. Development of the fetal endocrine system commences early in gestation allowing hormones to regulate functions in various physiological systems preparing the fetus for postnatal life. Hormone bioavailability in utero depends on both the formation of the endocrine gland for its production and the maturation of the responsiveness of the target tissue. Key features surrounding these events are presented for endocrine actions affecting fetal growth rates because appropriate growth is an essential component in a successful outcome of pregnancy. Furthermore, adaptations in fetal endocrinology are important factors that respond to a variety of clinically relevant complications in pregnancy that cause intrauterine growth. In this article, we discuss animal models of fetal endocrinology to explain the role hormones play in modulating fetal growth, development, and metabolic homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Reproduction
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128151457
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Adrenal glands
  • Endocrine
  • Fetal development
  • Fetus
  • Gonadal hormones
  • Growth
  • Hormone
  • Hypothalamus
  • Insulin-like growth factors
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Pancreas
  • Pituitary
  • Thyroid gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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