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June 22, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(25):2463. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810250037011

The fetal function of the endocrine glands has presented interesting problems for the physiologists. Certainly these glands do not remain inactive, particularly toward the end of gestation, only to assume full function suddenly at the moment of the infant's expulsion from the uterus. A number of water soluble substances may pass from the mother to the child, and vice versa. Maternal hormones reach the fetus, as demonstrated by the phenomenon of swollen mammary glands and the presence of so-called witch's milk in newborn infants of both sexes. The permeability of the placenta to at least some of the fetal hormones appears evident from several experiments. Carlson and Ginsburg1 removed the pancreas from pregnant bitches that were almost at term and found that diabetes failed to develop until after delivery but occurred soon after. Apparently the fetal pancreas supplied the needed insulin. Pack and Barber2 injected insulin into the

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