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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1983 Mar;26(3):335-49.

Long-lasting impairment of immune and endocrine systems of offspring induced by injection of dexamethasone into pregnant mice.


Dexamethasone was injected daily (2.5 and 5 micrograms/day) into pregnant mice from the 8th gestational day until delivery, and their offspring were examined in terms of body weight, organ histopathology, immunological function, and serum hormone level. Two different postnatal patterns were observed among the treated offspring: one pattern showing a wasting appearance and death within 1 week, and the other showing retardation of growth without any wasting appearance. In the latter, the offspring showed an immunologically impaired antibody-forming capacity to T-cell-dependent antigen (SRBC) and cell-mediated cytolytic T-cell activity. Histologically, the lymphoid tissues, thyroid, and adrenals of these offspring are atrophied and their serum thyroxine (T4) levels were significantly reduced. These results suggest that intrauterine exposure of the fetus to dexamethasone can disrupt the normal development and function of endocrine and immune organs which can lead to early death or retardation of growth after birth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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