Three weekly courses of betamethasone administered to pregnant baboons at 0.6, 0.65, and 0.7 of gestation alter fetal and maternal lymphocyte populations at 0.95 of gestation

Natalia E. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch, Vida L. Hodara, Laura M. Parodi, Gene B. Hubbard, Susan L. Jenkins, Donald J. Dudley, Peter W. Nathanielsz, Luis D. Giavedoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis plays a major role in the communication between the immune and neuroendocrine systems. Glucocorticoids are potent immunomodulatory hormones. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of three weekly courses of betamethasone, administered to pregnant baboons at 0.6, 0.65, and 0.7 of gestation, on maternal hematological parameters during treatment, maternal and fetal hematological parameters and lymphocyte populations at 0.95 of gestation, and fetal lymphoid organs and placental structure. Each weekly betamethasone course resulted in decreased granulocytes and increased lymphocytes and monocytes in maternal circulation (by percentage, p < 0.05). The percentage and absolute number of CD8+ T-cells in the maternal circulation were lower and CD4+ T-cells higher (p < 0.05) in treated pregnant animals at 0.95 gestation. The percentage of proliferating CD3-CD8+ cells was lower in blood obtained from the fetal heart of betamethasone-treated animals. In the betamethasone group, the number of CD8+ T-cells and NK cells were elevated and the number of T and CD4+ T-cells were reduced in fetal heart blood compared with the umbilical vein blood. The number of placental macrophages (CD68+ cells) per visual field in betamethasone-treated and control animals were not different. Taken together, our data show that betamethasone treatment of pregnant females with no indication of preterm labor affects some components of the fetal and maternal immune system, altering the maternal CD4+/CD8+ ratio and absolute number of fetal NK cell and maternal CD8+ T-cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-163
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume69
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

Keywords

  • Baboon
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immune system
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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