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Does the Caesarean Section Impact on 11β HSD2 and Fetal Cortisol?

  • Słabuszewska-Jóżwiak, Aneta1
  • Włodarczyk, Marta2, 3
  • Kilian, Krzysztof
  • Rogulski, Zbigniew
  • Ciebiera, Michał
  • Szymańska-Majchrzak, Jolanta
  • Zaręba, Kornelia1
  • Szymański, Jacek Krzysztof1
  • Raczkiewicz, Dorota
  • Nowicka, Grażyna2, 3
  • Jakiel, Grzegorz1
  • 1 (G.J.)
  • 2 (G.N.)
  • 3 Center for Preclinical Research, Medical University of Warsaw, Banacha 1 Street, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland
Published Article
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17155566
PMID: 32752242
PMCID: PMC7432821
PubMed Central


Purpose: Comparison of the activity of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 in the placenta and the umbilical cord blood cortisol level between caesarean sections with or without uterine contraction and vaginal delivery groups. Cortisol is the main stress hormone responsible for the normal adaptation of the neonate to extrauterine life. The disorders resulting from a dysfunction of the 11β-HSD 2–cortisol system can explain the higher risk of developing diseases in children born by caesarean section. Methods: 111 healthy, pregnant women in singular pregnancy at term of delivery were included into the study. The study comprised 11β-HSD 2 in placental tissue from 49 pregnant women delivering by elective caesarean section and 46 pregnant women delivering by vagina. In 16 cases of the elective caesarean section, regular uterine contractions were declared. Cortisol level was estimated in umbilical cord blood directly after delivery. Results: We found no statistically significant differences in the activity of 11β-HSD 2 in placentas delivered via caesarean sections (29.61 on average in elective caesarean sections and 26.65 on average in intrapartum caesarean sections) compared to vaginal deliveries (31.94 on average, p = 0.381), while umbilical cord blood cortisol in the elective caesarean sections group was significantly lower (29.86 on average) compared to the vaginal deliveries (55.50 on average, p < 0.001) and intrapartum caesarean sections (52.27 on average, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The model of placental 11β-HSD 2 activity and umbilical cord blood cortisol concentration seems to be significant in conditions of stress associated with natural uterine contractions in labour.

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