Ethan was treated with HCG, 3 injections. Dr Hess thought it would only be effective up to 6 months of age and that he should keep both testicles down after the cartilage ring closes at about 6 months.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a peptide hormone produced in pregnancy, that is made by the embryo soon after conception and later by the syncytiotrophoblast (part of the placenta). Its role is to prevent the disintegration of the corpus luteum of the ovary and thereby maintain progesterone production that is critical for a pregnancy in humans. hCG may have additional functions, for instance it is thought that it affects the immune tolerance of the pregnancy. Early pregnancy testing generally is based on the detection or measurement of hCG. Because hCG is produced also by some kinds of tumor, hCG is an important tumor marker, but it is not known whether this production is a contributing cause or an effect of tumorigenesis.
hCG interacts with the LHCG receptor and promotes the maintenance of the corpus luteum during the beginning of pregnancy causing it to secrete the hormone progesterone. Progesterone enriches the uterus with a thick lining of blood vessels and capillaries so that it can sustain the growing fetus. Due to its highly negative charge hCG may repel the immune cells of the mother, protecting the fetus during the first trimester. It has also been hypothesized that hCG may be a placental link for the development of local maternal immunotolerance. For example, hCG-treated endometrial cells induce an increase in T cell apoptosis (dissolution of T-cells). These results suggest that hCG may be a link in the development of peritrophoblastic immune tolerance and may facilitate the trophoblast invasion which is known to expedite fetal development in the endometrium. It has also been suggested that hCG levels are linked to the severity of morning sickness in pregnant women.
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