Urinary compound W in pregnant women is a potential marker for fetal thyroid function

S. Y. Wu, D. A. Fisher, W. S. Huang, P. Beck-Peccoz, C. H. Emerson, W. Kuo S.-, W. L. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Previously we reported 3,3'-diiodothyronine sulfate-like material (compound W) in material serum, and studies suggest that compound W is derived from thyroid hormones of fetal origin. In this study we characterized gestational changes of urinary compound W concentrations to correlate with changes in serum concentrations. STUDY DESIGN: Urinary samples were collected from 94 women at various gestational ages ranging from 3 to 40 weeks. Urinary compound W was first identified biochemically. The concentrations of compound W (adjusted for creatinine levels) were assessed by 3,3'-diiodothyronine sulfate radioimmunoassay in ethanol extracts of urine samples. RESULTS: Compound W increased to 88 ± 1.4 pmol (of 3,3'- diiodothyronine sulfate equivalent)/mmol creatinine in urinary samples obtained from 26 women in the first trimester of pregnancy compared with 40 ± 6.9 pmol/mmol creatinine in 10 nonpregnant women. Excretion of compound W increased further during the second and third trimesters: 171 ± 17 (n = 18) and 434 ± 26 (n = 50) respectively. In contrast, urinary 3,3',5- triiodothyronine sulfate concentrations measured by radioimmunoassay were similar during pregnancy to values in nonpregnant women. CONCLUSIONS: Urinary compound W concentrations increase with the progression of normal pregnancy and correlate with the increase in serum levels. Random spot urine compound W concentrations, adjusted for creatinine levels, may be used in place of serum levels in conditions in which obtaining serum samples may be technically difficult, especially during population screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-891
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Fetal thyroid function
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Urinary compound W

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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