The Placenta is Simply a Neuroendocrine Parasite

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Abstract

This paper will document the early scientific observations that kindled my neuroendocrinological interest in pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening disease that affects both mother and baby. My interest in this subject started with the placental origin of melanotrophin activity, moving on, through corticotrophin-releasing factor and its binding protein, to a tachykinin modified specifically in the placenta by phosphocholine, a post-translational moiety normally used by parasites to avoid immune surveillance and rejection. This work may finally have led to an understanding of the identity of the elusive placental factor that, whilst attempting to compensate for the poor implantation of the placenta, causes the many symptoms seen in the mother during pre-eclampsia.

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