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Platelet alpha 2-adrenoceptor binding characteristics were investigated in 28 healthy women during the peripartum period. The number of platelet alpha 2-adrenoceptors fell after childbirth, corresponding to a fall in the circulating levels of oestrogen and progesterone. Two-thirds of the women had an episode of maternity blues. At 7-10 days post partum the platelet alpha 2-adrenoceptor capacity in these subjects was significantly higher than in those women who did not show signs of maternity blues and significantly higher than a control group of normally menstruating women. We conclude that platelet alpha 2-adrenoceptors may be affected by the circulating levels of endogenous oestrogen and progesterone and that a delayed or diminished fall in platelet alpha 2-adrenoceptor capacity after childbirth may be associated with the development of maternity blues.


Journal article



Publication Date





495 - 498


Blood Platelets, Estrogens, Female, Humans, Megakaryocytes, Mental Disorders, Postpartum Period, Pregnancy, Progesterone, Puerperal Disorders, Receptors, Adrenergic, Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha