Prenatal glucocorticoid and T4 effects on lung morphology in preterm lambs

Kent E Pinkerton, Karen E. Willet, Janice L. Peake, Peter D. Sly, Alan H. Jobe, Machiko Ikegami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Prenatal glucocorticoid plus T4 treatment of fetal sheep results in improvements in oxygenation, gas exchange, lung mechanics, and lung volumes after preterm delivery. We have evaluated the morphometric changes in the lungs of lambs exposed to betamethasone and T4 48 h before preterm delivery at 121 and 135 d gestation and related those changes to the physiologic improvements in lung function. The lungs used for the morphometric studies were from lambs with postnatal physiologic responses similar to those of the entire group of lambs reported previously (16). At both 121 and 135 d gestation, lung gas volumes and fixed tissue volumes increased, the percent of collapsed (nonaerated) parenchyma decreased, and the percent of perilobular connective tissue decreased with both gestational age and prenatal hormone exposure. Alveolar size, as estimated by mean linear intercept length, did not change with gestation or hormone exposure, but there was a decrease in alveolar wall thickness with advancing gestation and at each gestation with hormone exposure. The major anatomic effect of prenatal hormone exposure was a decrease in alveolar wall thickness and an increase in aerated parenchyma, effects that were consistent with the physiologic improvements in postnatal lung function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-630
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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