Reproductive aspects in female rats exposed prenatally to hydrocortisone

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Piffer, R. C.
Pereira, OCM

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Elsevier B.V.


We investigated the effects of hydrocortisone during the prenatal period and its later repercussion on reproductive aspects of female rats. Pregnant rats were treated (s.c.) with hydrocortisone acetate, at 1.5 mg/day on the 17th, 18th, and 19th days of pregnancy. Although the present study was not intended to identify mechanisms of toxicity, the treatment with hydrocortisone in the last period of pregnancy presented no signs of toxicity. The efficacy of the hydrocortisone in reducing the adrenal wet mass and plasma corticosterone levels immediately after delivery in both the treated mothers and in respective pups at birth may indicate impairment of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. In addition, the treatment with hydrocortisone did not interfere in the development of the female descendants until puberty. However, it affected the estrous cycle and fertility, Probably, the prenatal exposure to corticosteroids had altered at least partially the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis, resulting in the damages observed in adult life. These results indicate that the use of the hydrocortisone at a dose that apparently does not endanger the neonate led to undesirable effects in the adult reproductive phase, resulting in later deleterious alteration of the reproductive physiology in female rats. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



development, puberty installation, estrous cycle, female rat, hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, fertility, hydrocortisone, corticosteroid, reproduction

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C-toxicology & Pharmacology. New York: Elsevier B.V., v. 139, n. 1-3, p. 11-16, 2004.