Recent advances in understanding the endocrinology of human birth.

Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism

PubMedID: 22682480

Smith R, Paul J, Maiti K, Tolosa J, Madsen G. Recent advances in understanding the endocrinology of human birth. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2012;23(10):516-23.
The timing of human birth has a crucial impact upon the survival of the fetus. New knowledge on the regulation of human birth includes the role of endogenous retroviruses in the formation of the syncytiotrophoblast cells and consequently the secretion of corticotrophin releasing hormone, a hormone linked to gestational length determination. miRNAs have been identified that mediate progesterone withdrawal at labor by suppressing progesterone-induced transcription factors. Progress has also been made in understanding how the contractile machinery of the uterine myocytes is activated at labor and the role of small heat-shock proteins in this process. From this work, new therapeutic targets have been identified that may be used to regulate the onset of labor and improve neonatal mortality.