Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Effects of cortisol on cardiac myocytes and on expression of cardiac genes in fetal sheep. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2005 Mar;288(3):R567-74



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-13844250260   59 Citations


In 17 fetal sheep aged 129 days, the effects of large-dose infusions of cortisol (72.1 mg/day for 2-3 days) on proliferation, binucleation, and hypertrophy of cardiac myocytes, cardiac expression of angiotensinogen, angiotensin receptor subtypes 1 and 2, Glut-1, glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors, proteins of the MAPK pathways and calcineurin were studied. Cortisol levels were 8.7 +/- 2.3 nM (SE) in 8 control and 1,028 +/- 189 nM in 9 treated fetuses (P < 0.001). Cortisol had no effect on myocyte binucleation. Left ventricular free wall (LVFW) uni- and binucleated myocytes were larger in cortisol-treated fetuses (P < 0.001, P < 0.05). Cortisol-treated fetuses had higher right ventricular free wall (RVFW) and LVFW angiotensinogen (Aogen) mRNA levels (treated: 2.30 +/- 0.37, n = 8 and 2.05 +/- 0.45, n = 7 vs. control: 0.94 +/- 0.12, n = 8 and 0.67 +/- 0.09, n = 7, P < 0.02). Levels of the glucose transporter Glut-1 mRNA were lower in the LVFW of treated fetuses (0.83 +/- 0.23 vs. 1.47 +/- 0.30 in control, P < 0.05, n = 7, 8). The higher the cortisol level, the greater the Aogen mRNA level (RVFW, r = 0.61, P < 0.01, n = 16; LVFW, r = 0.83, P < 0.0003, n = 14). There were no other changes in mRNA levels nor in levels of extracellular kinase, JNK, p38, their phosphorylated forms, and calcineurin. Thus high levels of cortisol such as occur after birth do not affect fetal cardiac myocyte binucleation or number but are associated with higher levels of ventricular Aogen mRNA, lower levels of Glut-1 mRNA, and hypertrophy of LVFW myocytes. These effects could impact on postnatal cardiac development.

Author List

Lumbers ER, Boyce AC, Joulianos G, Kumarasamy V, Barner E, Segar JL, Burrell JH


Jeffrey L. Segar MD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cell Division
Cell Nucleus
Fetal Development
Fetal Heart
Gene Expression
Glucose Transporter Type 1
Heart Ventricles
Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
Myocytes, Cardiac
RNA, Messenger
Renin-Angiotensin System
jenkins-FCD Prod-486 e3098984f26de787f5ecab75090d0a28e7f4f7c0