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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of dexamethasone on mRNA abundance of nuclear receptors and hepatic nuclear receptor target genes in neonatal calves.

Hepatic nuclear receptors (NR), particularly constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and pregnane X receptor (PXR), are involved in the coordinated transcriptional control of genes that encode proteins involved in the metabolism and detoxification of xeno- and endobiotics. A broad spectrum of metabolic processes are mediated by NR acting in concert with ligands such as glucocorticoids. This study examined the role of dexamethasone on hepatic mRNA expression of CAR, PXR and several NR target genes. Twenty-eight male calves were allotted to one of four treatment groups in a 2 x 2 arrangement of treatments: feed source (colostrum or milk-based formula) and glucocorticoid administration (twice daily intramuscular dexamethasone). Liver biopsies were obtained at 5 days of age. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify mRNA abundances. No effects of feed source on mRNA abundances were observed. For the NR examined, mRNA abundance of both CAR and PXR in dexamethasone-treated calves was lower (p < 0.05) by 39% and 40%, respectively, than in control calves. Abundance of NR target genes exhibited a mixed response. SULT1A1 mRNA abundance was 39% higher (p < 0.05) in dexamethasone-treated calves compared with control calves. mRNA abundance of CYP2C8 tended also to be higher (+44%; p = 0.053) after dexamethasone treatment. No significant treatment effects (p > 0.10) were observed for mRNA abundances of CYP3A4, CYP2E1, SULT2A1, UGT1A1 or cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR). In conclusion, an enhanced glucocorticoid status, induced by pharmacological amounts of dexamethasone, had differential and in part unexpected effects on NR and NR target systems in 5-day-old calves. Part of the unexpected responses may be due the immaturity of NR and NR receptor target systems.[1]


  1. Effects of dexamethasone on mRNA abundance of nuclear receptors and hepatic nuclear receptor target genes in neonatal calves. Greger, D.L., Blum, J.W. Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition (2007) [Pubmed]
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