The effects of dexamethasone on plasma steroid levels and fetal adrenal histology in the pregnant rhesus monkey

John R G Challis, I. John Davies, Kurt Benirschke, Andrew G Hendrickx, Kenneth J. Ryan

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Abstract

Dexamethasone (8 mg/day im) has been administered to rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatto) from days 146–156 of pregnancy, until term. This treatment was ineffective in precipitating premature delivery, and the monkeys delivered spontaneously at the expected time (day 166–176). Maternal peripheral plasma progesterone concentrations were unaffected by the dexamethasone treatment. However, administration of the synthetic glucocorticoid resulted in a marked suppression of the maternal plasma estrone and estradiol-17β concentrations in all animals. In the 4 monkeys in which injections of dexamethasone were initiated earliest (days 146–150), the plasma unconjugated estrogen levels at term were 15–40% of those found prior to the start of treatment. At autopsy, the adrenal glands from the fetuses of dexamethasone-treated monkeys had markedly atrophied, and showed appreciable regression of the fetal zone. It is suggested that dexamethasone crosses the placenta and inhibits fetal ACTH release, resulting in regression of the fetal adrenal, and a reduction in its secretion of C19 steroids for placental aromatization. These results provide no support for the hypothesized role of the fetal adrenal in the initiation of normal parturition in primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1300-1305
Number of pages6
JournalEndocrinology
Volume95
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1974

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Macaca mulatta
Dexamethasone
Histology
Steroids
Haplorhini
Mothers
Estrone
Macaca
Adrenal Glands
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
Placenta
Primates
Glucocorticoids
Progesterone
Autopsy
Estradiol
Estrogens
Fetus
Therapeutics
Parturition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

Cite this

Challis, J. R. G., Davies, I. J., Benirschke, K., Hendrickx, A. G., & Ryan, K. J. (1974). The effects of dexamethasone on plasma steroid levels and fetal adrenal histology in the pregnant rhesus monkey. Endocrinology, 95(5), 1300-1305. https://doi.org/10.1210/endo-95-5-1300

The effects of dexamethasone on plasma steroid levels and fetal adrenal histology in the pregnant rhesus monkey. / Challis, John R G; Davies, I. John; Benirschke, Kurt; Hendrickx, Andrew G; Ryan, Kenneth J.

In: Endocrinology, Vol. 95, No. 5, 1974, p. 1300-1305.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Challis, JRG, Davies, IJ, Benirschke, K, Hendrickx, AG & Ryan, KJ 1974, 'The effects of dexamethasone on plasma steroid levels and fetal adrenal histology in the pregnant rhesus monkey', Endocrinology, vol. 95, no. 5, pp. 1300-1305. https://doi.org/10.1210/endo-95-5-1300
Challis, John R G ; Davies, I. John ; Benirschke, Kurt ; Hendrickx, Andrew G ; Ryan, Kenneth J. / The effects of dexamethasone on plasma steroid levels and fetal adrenal histology in the pregnant rhesus monkey. In: Endocrinology. 1974 ; Vol. 95, No. 5. pp. 1300-1305.
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