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Keywords:

  • Catecholamines;
  • cytokines;
  • high altitude;
  • human pregnancy;
  • neural–immune interactions

Coussons-Read ME, Mazzeo RS, Whitford MH, Schmitt M, Moore LG, Zamudio S. High altitude residence during pregnancy alters cytokine and catecholamine levels. AJRI 2002: 48:344–354 © Blackwell Munksgaard, 2002

This study assessed the impact of high altitude residence during pregnancy on parameters of maternal immune and endocrine system function. Urinary catecholamines, and serum cytokines, estriol, and cortisol were assessed during pregnancy in women living at moderate or high altitude. Women residing at high altitude exhibited elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines only during pregnancy, and tended to have higher levels of catecholamines during pregnancy than women living at lower altitude. These data suggest that the combination of high altitude and pregnancy alters the maternal neural-immune axis in a manner that may predispose women to suboptimal birth outcomes.