A single antenatal course of betamethasone adversely affects glucose regulation in adulthood and the next generation in childhood
© Mathai et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2015
Published: 28 April 2015
To assess whether a single antenatal course of betamethasone affects insulin sensitivity and other metabolic parameters in the offspring, and whether effects are transmitted to the next generation.
A cohort of 52 adults (aged 35.7 years, 46% men, 23 born after steroid treatment) and their term-born children (n=61, aged 8.0 years, 52% boys, 49% from a parent born after steroid treatment), was recruited in Auckland. Insulin sensitivity and secretion were assessed using hyperglycaemic clamps in adults, and HOMA-IR in children. Other assessments included DXA-derived body composition, lipid profile, adipokines, and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
Study outcomes in the offspring (adults, F1) born from mothers who were either treated with antenatal betamethasone (Steroid) or not treated (Control), and in subsequent generation (children, F2). Data are means and 95% CI, adjusted for confounders.
1st phase insulin (mU/l)
2nd phase insulin (mU/l)
Total insulin (mU/l)
Insulin sensitivity last 60 min
Fasting glucose (mg/dl)
Fasting insulin (mU/l)
This study shows that maternal treatment with a single dose of betamethasone is associated with reduced insulin sensitivity in the offspring in mid-adulthood. Importantly, there is indication of an inter-generational effect, with the subsequent generation displaying increased insulin resistance.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.