The intent of this review was a selective consideration of recent advances in understanding placental steroidogenesis in humans. While we have omitted material, both intentionally and unintentionally, we hope this discourse presents a flavour of the current molecular endocrinology of placental steroidogenesis. In particular, advances in knowledge as it relates to the enzymes involved in progesterone and oestrogen metabolism have been addressed and correlated with placental development. Finally, because relatively less is known about regulation of steroidogenesis in the human placenta beyond the aspects of growth and differentiation, we have discussed regulation in general terms using recent data obtained in animal species.
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