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Antenatal glucocorticoids reduce growth in appropriately grown and growth-restricted ovine fetuses in a sex-specific manner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Suzanne L Miller, Amy E Sutherland, Veena G Supramaniam, David W Walker, Graham Jenkin, Euan M Wallace

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-758
Number of pages6
JournalReproduction Fertility and Development
Issue number5

King's Authors


Antenatal glucocorticoids are administered to mature the fetal lungs before preterm birth. Glucocorticoids also have non-pulmonary effects, including reducing fetal body and brain growth. The present study examined whether glucocorticoid administration has a sex-specific effect on growth in appropriately grown (control) and intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) fetal sheep. IUGR was induced at 0.7 gestation in fetal sheep by single umbilical artery ligation. On Days 5 and 6 after surgery, IUGR or control fetuses were exposed to the synthetic glucocorticoid betamethasone (BM; 11.4mg) or saline via intramuscular maternal administration. On Day 7, a postmortem was conducted to determine fetal sex and weight. Compared with control fetuses, the birthweight of male and female IUGR fetuses was significantly reduced (by 18.5±4.4% (P=0.002) and 21.7±6.0% (P=0.001), respectively). Maternal administration of BM significantly reduced bodyweight in both control and IUGR fetuses (by 11.3±2.8% and 20.5±3.6% in control male and female fetuses, respectively; and by 22.9±3.1% and 38.3±3.4% in IUGR male and female fetuses, respectively; P

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