Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 322, Issue 1, pp 81–88 | Cite as

Glucocorticoid programming of adult disease

  • Karen M. Moritz
  • Wee Ming Boon
  • E. Marelyn Wintour


Fetal exposure to elevated levels of glucocorticoids can occur naturally when maternal glucocorticoids are elevated in times of stress or when exogenous glucocorticoids are administered. Epidemiological studies and animal models have shown that, whereas short-term benefits may be associated with fetal glucocorticoid exposure, long-term deleterious effects may arise. This review compares the effects of exposure to natural versus synthetic glucocorticoids and considers the ways in which the timing of the exposure and the sex of the fetus may influence outcomes. Some of the long-term effects of glucocorticoid exposure may be explained by epigenetic mechanisms.


Glucocorticoids (synthetic/natural) Fetal exposure Fetal sex Short-term benefits Long-term problems Epigenetic mechanisms Disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen M. Moritz
    • 1
  • Wee Ming Boon
    • 2
  • E. Marelyn Wintour
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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