Long-term effects of betamethasone on fetal development

J. W.C. Johnson, W. Mitzner, J. C. Beck, W. T. London, D. L. Sly, P. A. Lee, V. A. Khouzami, R. L. Cavalieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In previous studies, we noted that treatment of pregnant rhesus monkeys with betamethasone resulted in a marked increase in fetal lung distensibility. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether these changes persisted during subsequent in utero development. Pregnant rhesus monkeys were treated with 2 mg of betamethasone intramuscularly from day 120 to day 133 and underwent delivery by cesarean section one month later. The treated fetuses were found to have smaller lungs (-31%; p <0.005), and lower alveolar stability (-14%; p <0.025) than the control fetuses. Additional findings included smaller weights for the brain (p <0.01), liver, pancreas, and heart (p <0.05). Smaller adrenal (p <0.025) and larger pituitary weights (p <0.05) and lower plasma corticoid concentrations (p <0.001) indicated long-standing adrenal insufficiency in the treated fetuses. These persistent sequelae caution against the indiscriminate and prolonged use of these potent glucocorticoids during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1064
Number of pages12
JournalUnknown Journal
Volume141
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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    Johnson, J. W. C., Mitzner, W., Beck, J. C., London, W. T., Sly, D. L., Lee, P. A., Khouzami, V. A., & Cavalieri, R. L. (1981). Long-term effects of betamethasone on fetal development. Unknown Journal, 141(8), 1053-1064. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9378(16)32697-7