In vitro metabolism of prednisolone, dexamethasone, betamethasone, and cortisol by the human placenta

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1977 Feb 1;127(3):264-7. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(77)90466-5.


Many of the factors influencing the pharmacologic action of corticosteroids on the maternal-placental-fetal unit remains obscure. To clarify the effect of the placenta on corticoid transfer, tritiated steroids were incubated in saline for 2 hours with minces of midgestational or term placental tissue. The media were extracted and chromatographed on Sephadex-LH-20. Large peaks corresponding to the inactive 11-keto metabolites were observed for cortisol (67 per cent) and prednisolone (51 per cent) while conversion of dexamethasone (1.8 per cent) and betamethasone (7.1 per cent) was low or negligible.

MeSH terms

  • Betamethasone / metabolism*
  • Biological Availability
  • Dexamethasone / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Prednisolone / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy


  • Dexamethasone
  • Betamethasone
  • Prednisolone
  • Hydrocortisone