Regulation of amniotic fluid volume: Insights derived from amniotic fluid volume function curves

Robert A. Brace, Cecilia Y. Cheung, Debra F. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Recent advances in understanding the regulation of amniotic fluid volume (AFV) include that AFV is determined primarily by the rate of intramembranous absorption (IMA) of amniotic fluid across the amnion and into fetal blood. In turn, IMA rate is dependent on the concentrations of yet-to-be identified stimulator(s) and inhibitor(s) that are present in amniotic fluid. To put these concepts in perspective, this review 1) discusses the evolution of discoveries that form the current basis for understanding the regulation of AFV, 2) reviews the contribution of IMA to this regulation, and 3) interprets experimentally induced shifts in AFV function curves and amnioinfusion function curves in terms of the activity of the amniotic fluid stimulator and inhibitor of IMA. In the early 1980s, it was not known whether AFV was regulated. However, by the late 1980s, IMA was discovered to be a "missing link"in understanding the regulation of AFV. Over the next 25 years the concept of IMA evolved from being a passive process to being an active, unidirectional transport of amniotic fluid water and solutes by vesicles within the amnion. In the 2010s, it was demonstrated that a renally derived stimulator and a fetal membrane-derived inhibitor are present in amniotic fluid that regulate IMA rate and hence are the primary determinants of AFV. Furthermore, AFV function curves and amnioinfusion function curves provide new insights into the relative efficacy of the stimulator and inhibitor of IMA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R777-R789
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Amniotic fluid
  • Amniotic fluid volume
  • Amniotic fluid volume function curves
  • Intramembranous absorption
  • Vesicular transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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