Aging, glucocorticoids and developmental programming

E. Zambrano, L. A. Reyes-Castro, P. W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids are pleiotropic regulators of multiple cell types with critical roles in physiological systems that change across the life-course. Although glucocorticoids have been associated with aging, available data on the aging trajectory in basal circulating glucocorticoids are conflicting. A literature search reveals sparse life-course data. We evaluated (1) the profile of basal circulating corticosterone across the life-course from weaning (postnatal day—PND 21), young adult PND 110, adult PND 450, mature adult PND 650 to aged phase PND 850 in a well-characterized homogeneous rat colony to determine existence of significant changes in trajectory in the second half of life; (2) sex differences; and (3) whether developmental programming of offspring by exposure to maternal obesity during development alters the later-life circulating corticosterone trajectory. We identified (1) a fall in corticosterone between PND 450 and 650 in both males and females (p < 0.05) and (2) higher female than male concentrations (p < 0.05). (3) Using our five life-course time-point data set, corticosterone fell at a similar age but from higher levels in male and female offspring of obese mothers. In all four groups studied, there was a second half of life fall in corticosterone. Higher corticosterone levels in offspring of obese mothers may play a role in their shorter life-span, but the age-associated fall occurs at a similar time to control offspring. Although even more life-course time-points would be useful, a five life-course time-point analysis provides important new information on normative and programmed aging of circulating corticosterone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Developmental programming
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Maternal obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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