Effects of glucocorticoid on brain acetylcholinesterase of developing chick embryos

Sumire Yamate, Hidekazu Nishigori, Seishi Kishimoto, Yu Tezuka, Akimune Fukushima, Toru Sugiyama, Hideo Nishigori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Fetal exposure to excessive or deficient glucocorticoids may alter the programming in differentiation and maturation of various tissues including the brain and nervous system, leading to dysfunctions later in life. For further exploration of this possibility, we established an animal model using developing chick embryos. Methods: (i) Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to determine the expression of glucocorticoid receptor mRNA in the brain of chick embryos. (ii) Embryos on day 15 were administered betamethasone or mifepristone and their cerebrum, cerebellum and optic lobe were investigated to determine the activity of acetylcholinesterase. Results: (i) Glucocorticoid receptor mRNA was shown to be present in the cerebrum, cerebellum and optic lobe. (ii) After the administration of betamethasone, acetylcholinesterase activities in the cerebrum, cerebellum and optic lobe on day 19 were 1.5- to 2-fold higher than those of untreated control. Weights of body and brain parts were 0.65-0.75-fold relative to control values. However, these differences were less noticeable on day 22. (iii) Administration of mifepristone before treatment with betamethasone prevented high-dose betamethasone-induced changes in acetylcholinesterase activity and bodyweights on day 19. Administration of mifepristone alone did not induce differences from the control. Conclusions: The cerebrum, cerebellum and optic lobe of chick embryos could be influenced by glucocorticoids because of the presence of glucocorticoid receptor mRNA. Although the effects observed after treatment with excess glucocorticoids (even no effects after mifepristone treatment) were transitory, they may alter the developmental program in ways that could result in lasting change and influence behavioral activities after hatching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb 1


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Brain
  • Chick embryo
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Mifepristone (RU486)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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