Maternal administration of thyrotropin-releasing hormone, alone or in combination with corticosteroid, accelerates functional, morphologic and biochemical fetal lung maturation. However, the dose-response relationship of maternal thyrotropin-releasing hormone treatment and acceleration of fetal lung ultrastructural maturation or disaturated phosphatidylcholine content has not been investigated. We administered (i.p.) saline or thyrotropin-releasing hormone (0.2, 0.4 or 0.6 mg/kg/dose) to the pregnant Balb/c mouse on days 16 and 17 (b.i.d.) and on day 18 of gestation (1 h prior to killing). Morphometric ultrastructural analysis and quantitation of disaturated phosphatidylcholine content was done on the 18-day gestation fetal lung. Maternal thyrotropin-releasing hormone treatment resulted in an increase in the number of lamellar bodies and depletion of glycogen in fetal lung type II cells, and an increase in the lung airspace to parenchymal ratio. In addition, a striking difference in the pattern of lung growth was noted in the thyrotropin-releasing-hormone-treated (0.4 and 0.6 mg/kg/dose) groups. These lungs had larger air spaces, thinner alveolar septae and more air-blood barriers. Maternal thyrotropin-releasing hormone treatment did not influence fetal lung disaturated phosphatidylcholine content. We conclude that in the mouse, maternal thyrotropin-releasing hormone treatment enhances fetal lung structural maturation and propose that thyrotropin-releasing hormone plays a role in mammalian fetal lung growth.
- Lung ultrastructure
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health