Adverse effect of dexamethasone on development of the fetal rat ovary.
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© 2018, John Wiley and Sons
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Dexamethasone (Dx) is often used in obstetric practice to promote fetal lung maturation and to prevent respiratory distress syndrome when the risk of preterm delivery persists. This therapy enables survival of the newborn, but also is associated with deleterious effects on the offspring, such as reproductive disorders. The aim of this study was to determine specifically whether prenatal exposure to Dx disturbs the physiological balance between proliferation and apoptosis of germinative cells (GC) in the ovary of 19 and 21 day old fetuses and thus induces developmental programing of the female reproductive system. Pregnant Wistar rats (n = 10/group), separated into control (vehicle) and Dx-treated (0.5 mg/kg body mass) groups, received injections on gestational days 16, 17 and 18. Exposure to Dx lowered the volume of the fetal ovary by 30% (p<0.05) in 21 day old fetuses, as well as the total number of GC in the ovary by 21% (p<0.05). When compared to the controls, in Dx-exposed fetuses the total number of PCNA positive GC was 27% lower at 19 days and 71% lower at 21 day old (p<0.05), while total numbers of caspase-3 positive GC were 2.3 fold and 34% higher respectively, (p<0.05). Our results demonstrate that prenatal exposure to Dx diminished proliferation but increased the rate of germinative cell apoptosis, with consequently reduced total germinative cell number and ovary volume. Impairment of fetal oogenesis and fewer GC in the fetal ovary compromise the oogonial stock and thus may constitute a risk for female fertility. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Source:Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 2019, 33, 2, 199-207
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