Deakin University
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Intrafetal insulin-like growth factor-I infusion stimulates adrenal growth but not steroidogenesis in the sheep fetus during late gestation

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-11-01, 00:00 authored by J T Ross, I C McMillen, F Lok, A G Thiel, Julie Owens, C L Coulter
We investigated the effects of an intrafetal infusion of IGF-I on adrenal growth and expression of the adrenal steroidogenic and catecholamine-synthetic enzyme mRNAs in the sheep fetus during late gestation. Fetal sheep were infused for 10 d with either IGF-I (26 microg/kg.h; n = 14) or saline (n = 10) between 120 and 130 d gestation, and adrenal glands were collected for morphological analysis and determination of the mRNA expression of steroidogenic and catecholamine-synthetic enzymes. Fetal body weight was not altered by IGF-I infusion; however, adrenal weight was significantly increased by 145% after IGF-I infusion. The density of cell nuclei within the fetal adrenal cortex (the zona glomerulosa and zona fasciculata), and within the adrenaline synthesizing zone of the adrenal medulla, was significantly less in the IGF-I-infused fetuses compared with the saline-infused group. Thus, based on cell-density measurements, there was a significant increase in cell size in the zona glomerulosa and zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex and in the adrenaline-synthesizing zone of the adrenal medulla. There was no effect of IGF-I infusion on the adrenal mRNA expression of the steroidogenic or catecholamine-synthetic enzymes or on fetal plasma cortisol concentrations. In summary, infusion of IGF-I in late gestation resulted in a marked hypertrophy of the steroidogenic and adrenaline-containing cells of the fetal adrenal in the absence of changes in the mRNA levels of adrenal steroidogenic or catecholamine-synthetic enzymes or in fetal plasma cortisol concentrations. Thus, IGF-I infusion results in a dissociation of adrenal growth and function during late gestation.









5424 - 5432


Oxford University Press


Oxford, Eng.





Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, The Endocrine Society