Induction of Choline Phosphotransferase and Lecithin Synthesis in the Fetal Lung by Corticosteroids

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Science  19 Jan 1973:
Vol. 179, Issue 4070, pp. 297-298
DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4070.297


Rabbit fetuses 23 to 24 days of gestation were injected with either 9-fluoroprednisolone acetate or saline. Three days later the lungs of steroid-treated animals showed a significant increase in lecithin concentration and cholinephosphotransferase activity. In addition, lung slices from these animals incorporated more [14C]choline into lecithin. The rise in enzyme activity and [14C]choline incorporation was blocked by prior treatment of fetuses with cycloheximide but not by treatment with actinomycin D. It is proposed that the corticosteroids induce de novo synthesis of the lung enzyme, which in turn leads to increased synthesis of lecithin through the choline incorporation pathway. Furthermore, it appears that the site of regulation involves translation of messenger RNA.