The therapeutic use of glucocorticoid hormones in the perinatal period: potential neurological hazards

Ann Neurol. 1977 Nov;2(5):364-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410020503.


The expanding perinatal use of glucocorticoids entails potentially hazardous effects of these hormones on nervous system development. Neonatal animal experimentation with pharmacological doses of glucocorticoids has revealed immediate effects on brain cell division, differentiation, myelination, and electrophysiological reactions. In addition, delayed (latent) effects include changes in control of circadian periodicity, altered biogenic amine levels, altered response to stress, and changes in ultimate behavior. Thus perinatal hormone therapy during critical periods of brain development is capable of exerting irreversible immediate effects on brain cell division and differentiation, resulting in latent or long-term physiological and behavioral effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Mitosis / drug effects
  • Motor Skills / drug effects
  • Neurosecretion / drug effects
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats


  • Glucocorticoids
  • DNA
  • Corticosterone