blastocyst illustrationA new study published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics links the early placenta to pregnenolone production. Research was completed by authors from the New York University School of Medicine.

Researchers measured progesterone and pregnenolone levels on various luteal days between day 21 and 80. Immulite was used to measure progesterone and liquid chromatography was used to measure pregnenolone.

Progesterone levels rose between days 35 and 60. A rise in pregnenolone was also noted during this time, but the rise was sharper than the rise in progesterone levels. By the 80th day, pregnenolone levels measured 75% higher. Oocyte recipients do not have a corpus luteum so the rise in pregnenolone was associated with early placental function. Researchers believe pregnenolone levels could be used to determine trophoblast function and competency of the early placenta.

Source: Licciardi F, Tan O, Oh C. Using the oocyte donation model to identify early trophoblast pregnenolone production. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2013 Apr 10.