The continuous and progressive rise of beta-endorphin (B-EP), beta-lipotropin (B-LPH) and cortisol plasma levels during labor in term-pregnant women represents one of the most relevant maternal hormonal responses to the stress of parturition. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the changes of these hormones, both in plasma and amniotic fluid (except cortisol), in a group of pregnant women undergoing prostaglandin-induced therapeutic abortion at the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. B-EP, B-LPH and cortisol were measured by radioimmunoassay. Both plasma and amniotic fluid samples were purified through extraction and chromatography (Sephadex G-75 columns). The prostaglandin derivative, 16-phenoxy-PGE2-methylsulfonylamide (sulprostone, Schering, Berlin) (500 micrograms, i.m., every 4 h), caused a rapid and significant rise of plasma B-EP, B-LPH and cortisol levels in all subjects. The relative increase of the 3 hormones was less relevant after the 2nd and absent after the 3rd injection of PGE2. The amniotic fluid concentrations of B-EP and B-LPH were also raised 2 h after the 1st injection. These data indicate that sulprostone-induced abortion activates both maternal and fetoplacental release of opioids independently of the trend of uterine contractions. The pattern of pro-opiomelanocortin-related labor differs from spontaneous labor and can probably be linked to a direct effect of the drug.
Prostaglandin-induced mid-pregnancy abortion increases plasma and amniotic fluid levels of beta-lipotropin and beta-endorphin / A. R., Genazzani; F., Petraglia; G. D., Meo; V., Santoro; Facchinetti, Fabio; A., Segre. - In: GYNECOLOGIC AND OBSTETRIC INVESTIGATION. - ISSN 0378-7346. - STAMPA. - 24:(1987), pp. 23-27.