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Endocrinology. 1985 Jun;116(6):2267-72.

Modulation by cortisol of adrenocorticotropin-induced activation of adrenal function in fetal sheep.

Abstract

We examined the hypothesis that cortisol (F) modulates the activation of adrenal function induced by treating fetal sheep in vivo with pulsatile ACTH (P-ACTH). Chronically catheterized sheep fetuses were infused in utero for 100 h between day 127 and day 131 of pregnancy with P-ACTH; P-ACTH plus metopirone; P-ACTH plus metopirone plus F; P-ACTH plus metopirone plus dexamethasone, or saline (controls). After 100 h, basal and ACTH-stimulated output of 11-desoxycortisol (S), F, and progesterone from collagenase-dispersed fetal adrenal cells was measured. Adrenal cells from fetuses treated with P-ACTH in vivo had significantly greater basal and stimulated (delta) outputs of F and S in vitro than controls. These effects were attenuated in fetuses pretreated with P-ACTH plus metopirone. Concurrent in vivo treatment with ACTH plus metopirone plus F restored basal and delta outputs of F and S to values that were not significantly different from those after P-ACTH alone. In vivo treatment with dexamethasone in addition to P-ACTH plus metopirone significantly raised basal outputs of F and S, but the cells were unresponsive to ACTH in vitro. Basal output of progesterone was significantly greater after in vivo P-ACTH plus metopirone plus dexamethasone, but no treatment raised delta progesterone output over controls. These results support a role for glucocorticoids in modulating ACTH-induced activation of adrenal function in late gestation fetal sheep.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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