Glucocorticoids and foetal heart maturation; implications for prematurity and foetal programming

Eva A Rog-Zielinska, Rachel V Richardson, Martin A Denvir, Karen E Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones, essential in mammals to prepare for life after birth. Blood levels of glucocorticoids (cortisol in most mammals including humans; corticosterone in rats and mice) rise dramatically shortly before birth. This is mimicked clinically in the routine administration of synthetic glucocorticoids to pregnant women threatened by a preterm birth or to preterm infants to improve neonatal survival. Whilst effects on lung are well documented and essential for postnatal survival, those on heart are less well known. In this study, we review recent evidence for a crucial role of glucocorticoids in late gestational heart maturation. Either insufficient or excessive glucocorticoid exposure before birth may alter the normal glucocorticoid-regulated trajectory of heart maturation with potential life-long consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R125-35
JournalJournal of molecular endocrinology
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Fetal Development
  • Fetal Heart
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Humans
  • Organogenesis
  • Premature Birth
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid

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