Effect of the synthetic glucocorticoid, deflazacort, on body growth, pulsatile secretion of GH and thymolysis in the rat

Kay Latta, Richard J. Krieg, Satoshi Hisano, Johannes D. Veldhuis, James C.M. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Design: Deflazacort (DFZ) is a relatively new glucocorticoid that has been reported to exhibit fewer side-effects than other commonly used corticosteroids. The present study was designed to test the effects of DFZ on thymus gland involution (thymolysis), as compared with body growth and the secretory pattern of GH in the rat. Beginning at 38 days of age, male animals were treated for 8 consecutive days by s.c. Injection of DFZ (0.15 mg/day), cortisone (CORT) (5 mg/day) or vehicle (control, CTRL). Results: Both glucocorticoids had a similar thymolytic effect and caused growth failure, but the growth rate for the DFZ group was significantly higher than that of the CORT group. On day 46, pulsatile GH secretion was quantitated by blood sampling via an indwelling catheter at 10 min intervals for 6 h. GH was assayed by RIA and analyzed by multiparameter deconvolution. CORT caused an increase in pulse frequency (5.8 ± 0.4 (S.E.M.)) in comparison to DFZ (4.4 ± 0.4) and CTRL (3.8 ± 0.3). Both glucocorticoids significantly shortened the interval between secretory bursts. In CTRL animals the interval between bursts was 69.3 ± 4.5 min. In DFZ animals this was reduced to 58.5 ± 7.1 min, and in CORT rats it was further reduced to 47.0 ± 2.6 min. The mass of GH secreted per burst was reduced in CORT animals (52% of CTRL), while DFZ did not alter this parameter. A similar trend was observed for total GH production, with COPT causing a reduction and DFZ not affecting the secretion. Conclusion: Rats treated with glucocorticoid show a profound thymolytic effect, as well as important changes in growth. While CORT suppresses GH secretion and alters its pulsatile mode of release, DFZ causes a less significant alteration in the pattern of GH secretion and does not negatively affect the overall amount of GH secreted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-446
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean journal of endocrinology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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