The pharmacological effect of Metopirone (metyrapone) is to reduce cortisol and corticosterone production by inhibiting the 11-β-hydroxylation reaction in the adrenal cortex. Removal of the strong inhibitory feedback mechanism exerted by cortisol results in an increase in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production by the pituitary. With continued blockade of the enzymatic steps leading to production of cortisol and corticosterone, there is a marked increase in adrenocortical secretion of their immediate precursors, 11-desoxycortisol and desoxycorticosterone, which are weak suppressors of ACTH release, and a corresponding elevation of these steroids in the plasma and of their metabolites in the urine. These metabolites are readily determined by measuring urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS) or 17-ketogenic steroids (17-KGS).
PLACENTAL TROPHOBLAST DEVELOPMENT AND VASCULARIZATION During human and nonhuman primate pregnancy, the placenta simultaneously accesses the maternal blood and develops a vascular network for the transport of nutrients to and waste products from the fetus across the syncytiotrophoblast to ensure fetal growth and development. Both processes depend on the ability of the primordial stem-cell cytotrophoblasts to take either the villous pathway where they remain in the fetal compartment and differentiate morphologically into the syncytiotrophoblast or the extravillous pathway where they proliferate, aggregate into cell columns of the anchoring villi, and invade the endometrial stroma (Fig. 6). 105 The syncytiotrophoblast covers the floating chorionic villi that become highly vascularized, whereas the extravillous cytotrophoblasts infiltrate the walls of the spiral arterioles to facilitate the process of placentation.