Effects of Dexamethasone on Embryo Development and Hox Gene Expression Patterns in Mice
Sang Hoon Kim ; Ji-Yeon Lee ; Myoung Hee Kim ; Sung Joo Park
Journal of experimental and biomedical sciences (대한의생명과학회지), Vol.17(3) : 231~238, 2011
Journal of experimental and biomedical sciences (대한의생명과학회지)
During pregnancy, stress induces maternal glucocorticoid secretion, which in turn is known to affect structural malformation, retardation of growth, reduced birth weight of the fetus. As Hox genes are master transcription factors which fulfill critical roles in embryonic development, we aimed to explore the possibility that alterations of the Hox gene expression might be involved in stress-induced malformation. The pregnant mice were injected with dexamethasone at a dose of 1 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg on day 7.5, 8.5 and 9.5 p.c. (post coitum), as well as saline as control. Embryos of E11.5 and E18.5 were obtained by sacrificing pregnant animals. Weight and crown-rump length (CRL) were measured. RT-PCR was performed to examine the Hox gene expression levels. Embryos given dexamethasone at day 7.5~9.5 p.c. had small CRL and weighed less both in E11.5 and E18.5. The percentage of embryos showing abnormalities was high in groups received high dose of dexamethasone. To define the molecular basis for abnormal embryonic development, we analyzed the Hox gene expression pattern and found that many Hox genes display altered expression. Effects of prenatal dexamethasone treatment on embryonic development might be associated with the aberrant Hox gene expression.