Among the glucocorticoids, betamethasone has become very popular, being more commonly used for a number of diseases, to promote organ maturation and to prevent preterm delivery. This work aimed to examining the possible morphological and skeletal malformations induced by betamethasone in fetuses of albino rats and the role of curcumin as antioxidant against these adverse effects. Administration of betamethasone during the organogenesis phase at a dose equivalent to its human counterpart led to severe intrauterine growth retardation relative to the control group as it affected the growth parameters of the fetuses including reduction in length and weight. In addition, various malformations were detected in the skin, head, trunk, limbs and tail. Exencephaly, mandibular hypoplasia, and retarded ossification were the most evident endo-skeletal malformations observed in the fetuses maternally injected with betamethasone. A marked improvement in fetal growth in terms of shape, length, weight and skeleton was recorded in fetuses maternally injected with betamethasone followed by curcumin.
Pregnant rats; Betamethasone; Development; Morphology; Skeleton; Malformation; Curcumin.