Article Text

  1. A A Varvarigou1,
  2. S G Liatsis1,
  3. P Vasilakos2,
  4. G Decavalas3,
  5. N G Beratis1
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Patras, Medical School, Rio, Patras, Greece,
  2. 2Nuclear Medicine Laboratory, University of Patras, Medical School, Rio, Patras, Greece,
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Patras, Medical School, Rio, Patras, Greece


Smoking during pregnancy affects the endocrine status of the fetus.

Objective To measure cord blood (CB) concentrations of (E3), (hPL), (beta-HCG), FSH, LH and cortisol in offspring of smoking and non-smoking women during pregnancy.

Methods CB was collected from 100 term neonates of smoking mothers and 100 of non-smoking mothers. E3, hPL, beta-HCG, FSH and LH were determined by a radioimmunoassay and cortisol by a fluoroimmunometric assay.

Results The E3, hPL, beta-HCG, and FSH CB concentrations were significantly lower in the neonates of smoking than in non-smoking mothers. The LH concentrations were lower in the offspring of smoking mothers but the difference was not significant. Conversely, the cortisol concentrations were significantly greater in the smoking mothers’ newborns. There was a significant negative correlation between number of cigarettes smoked/day and E3 (r = −0.163, p = 0.021), hPL (r = −0.205, p = 0.013), beta-HCG (r = −0.143, p = 0.044), FSH (r = −0.289, p = 0.029). Cortisol showed a strong positive correlation to the number of cigarettes smoked/day (r = 0.259, p<0.0001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that maternal smoking during pregnancy is a determinant of CB E3, hPL, beta-HCG, and cortisol.

Conclusion The E3, hPL, beta-HCG, and FSH concentrations were significantly reduced in CB of smoking mothers’ newborns, whereas the cortisol levels were significantly increased. The disturbed endocrine status of the fetus induced by the tobacco smoke could cause several adverse effects on the offspring since there are data indicating that hormones participate in fetal growth and development, including the fetal brain that is a target organ for hormonal actions.

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