REVIEW Estriol levels can be measured to give an indication of the general health of the fetus. DHEA-S is produced by the adrenal cortex of the fetus. This is converted to estriol by the placenta. If levels of unconjugated estriol are abnormally low in a pregnant woman, this may indicate a problem with the development of the child. The drug interacts with a target cell receptor. When the estrogen receptor has bound its ligand it can enter the nucleus of the target cell, and regulate gene transcription which leads to formation of messenger RNA. The mRNA interacts with ribosomes to produce specific proteins that express the effect of estriol upon the target cell. Estrogens increase the hepatic synthesis of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), thyroid-binding globulin (TBG), and other serum proteins and suppress follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary.
Soldan SS, Alvarez Retuerto AI, Sicotte NL, Voskuhl RR: Immune modulation in multiple sclerosis patients treated with the pregnancy hormone estriol. J Immunol. 2003 Dec 1;171(11):6267-74.
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