Effect of dexamethasone on the synthesis of specific proteins in fetal rabbit lung in vivo and in organ culture

David S. Phelps, George Giannopoulos

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Lung tissue from fetal rabbits at 24 days' gestation was maintained in organ culture in defined medium. This system has been used to study the effect of dexamethasone on general protein synthesis and on the synthesis of specific proteins by fetal rabbit lung in vitro. Glucocorticoid treatment had no effect on the overall incorporation of labeled amino acids into protein. However, it increased the incorporation of f35S] methionine into 5 of the nearly 400 proteins catalogued by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. When tissue was taken from fetuses at 20 and 22 days' gestation, it was found that the effect of dexamethasone on the incorporation of [35S] methionine into some of these five peptides was dependent on the gestational age of the animals at the time of sacrifice. When dexamethasone was administered for 2 consecutive days to pregnant rabbits beginning on gestational day 25, two-dimensional gels of [35S] methionine-labeled slices of fetal lungs revealed several glucocorticoid-specific changes, some of which were identical to those seen after glucocorticoid treatment in vitro. Following isolation of type II cells from fetal lungs after glucocorticoid administration in vivo and labeling the cells with [35S] methionine, two-dimensional gels of cell lysates exhibited several changes, some of which are identical to the changes seen in whole lung after glucocorticoid treatment in vivo or in vitro and some that appear to be unique to type II cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-210
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Lung Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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