Research Summary: Asthma Pregnancy Alters Postnatal Development of Chromaffin Cells in the Rat Adrenal Medulla



Adrenal neuroendocrine plays an important role in asthma. The activity of the
sympathoadrenal system could be altered by early life events. The effects of
maternal asthma during pregnancy on the adrenal medulla of offspring remain

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study aims to explore the influence of maternal asthma during pregnancy
on the development and function of adrenal medulla in offspring from
postnatal day 3 (P3) to postnatal day 60 (P60). Asthmatic pregnant rats
(AP), nerve growth factor (NGF)-treated pregnant rats (NP) and NGF
antibody-treated pregnant rats (ANP) were sensitized and challenged with
ovalbumin (OVA); NP and ANP were treated with NGF and NGF antibody
respectively. Offspring rats from the maternal group were divided into four
groups: offspring from control pregnant rats (OCP), offspring from AP (OAP),
offspring from NP (ONP), and offspring from ANP (OANP). The expressions of
phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) protein in adrenal medulla
were analyzed. The concentrations of epinephrine (EPI), corticosterone and
NGF in serum were measured. Adrenal medulla chromaffin cells (AMCC) were
prone to differentiate into sympathetic nerve cells in OAP and ONP. Both EPI
and PNMT were decreased in OAP from P3 to P14, and then reached normal level
gradually from P30 to P60, which were lower from birth to adulthood in ONP.
Corticosterone concentration increased significantly in OAP and ONP.


Asthma pregnancy may promote AMCC to differentiate into sympathetic neurons
in offspring rats and inhibit the synthesis of EPI, resulting in dysfunction
of bronchial relaxation.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 27-May-2011

Author(s): Wu X., Hu C., Li X., Zou Y., Zou J., Li Y., Feng J.


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