Long-term effects of betamethasone on fetal development

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

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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

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this

Johnson, J. W. C., Mitzner, W., Beck, J. C., London, W. T., Sly, D. L., Lee, P., 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