Placental eicosanoids as endocrine and paracrine mediators during pregnancy

Iliodromiti Zoe1, Grigoriadis Charalampos1, Stournaras Stamatis2, Daniilidis Angelos3, Dafopoulos Konstantinos4, Vrachnis Nikolaos1

12nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aretaieio hospital, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece
26th Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Elena Venizelou hospital, Athens, Greece
32nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hippokrateio hospital, University of Thessaloniki, Medical School, Thessaloniki, Greece
4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Larissa University hospital, University of Thessaly, Medical School, Larissa, Greece

Correspondence: Vrachnis Nikolaos,  2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens, Medical School, Aretaieio hospital, 76 Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, GR-11528, Athens, Greece. E – mail:


Eicosanoids, biologically active molecules possessing a wide range of functions, include prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes. During pregnancy, eicosanoids are produced by the chorionic membranes and the decidua as well as by the placenta. The eicosanoids play an important role throughout pregnancy. During implantation, they enable the trophoblast to invade and colonize the maternal spiral blood vessels of the myometrium. Through the entire period of fetal growth and development, eicosanoids play a significant role as vasoregulators of fetal – uterine blood flow
and circulation. Prostaglandins also have the ability to affect placental protein synthesis and the modulation of the production of certain other hormones. Finally, eicosanoids promote the initiation and progress of labor. The aim of this study was to review recent literature data on the spectrum of eicosanoids functions during pregnancy while seeking to identify their potential role in pathological conditions.

Keywords: eicosanoids, prostaglandins, pregnancy, labor, placenta

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