Association of pheochromocytoma and pregnancy is rare and usually related to high maternal and fetal mortality rates. Maternal effects of the tumor have been studied extensively and the clinical outcome has markedly improved during the last decade. However, the role of excess catecholamines on fetal development has been discussed very little. We report here a case of pheochromocytoma during pregnancy, in which catecholamine levels from the cord blood were low despite simultaneous elevated maternal values (1.93 and 29.46 nmol/l norepinephrine, respectively), possibly owing to the high activity of the catecholamine degradative enzymes monoamine oxidase and COMT at the placental level. We suggest that in pregnancies complicated by pheochromocytoma, fetal well-being may be related mainly to good control of maternal blood pressure instead of to the amount of catecholamines in the fetal circulation, because the placenta performs a protective role through an effective process of hormone inactivation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism