Acute and subacute effects of dexamethasone on the number of white blood cells in rats

Yasuhiko Ohkaru, Natsuko Arai, Hitoshi Ohno, Shogo Sato, Yuko Sakakibara, Hiroko Suzuki, Shoko Aritoshi, Shunta Akimoto, Takamasa Ban, Jun Tanihata, Kaoru Tachiyashiki, Kazuhiko Imaizumi*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    The purpose of this study was to elucidate the effects of dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticoid, on the immune system by analyzing the number of white blood cells (WBCs) over the course of hours and days of dexamethasone administration. Dexamethasone was given as either a single dosage [1.0mg/kg body weight (BW); subcutaneous injection (s.c.)] or as a daily dosage (1.0mg/kg BW per day; s.c.) for 10 days for the hourly and daily assessment of changes in the number of white blood cells, respectively. A single administration of dexamethasone markedly decreased the number of total WBCs, as well as the number of lymphocyte, monocyte, neutrophil and eosinophil subsets with a nadir at 8 hr post-injection. The number of these cells recovered to the control levels at 24hr. The numbers of total WBCs, lymphocytes, monocyte, eosinophil and basophil were reduced by the daily administration of dexamethasone. However, the number of neutrophil was significantly higher at days 2 and 8 after the injection. These results suggest that glucocorticoid-mediated immunosuppressions are at least partly attributable to quantitative changes in the number of circulating WBCs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-220
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Health Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr


    • Dexamethasone
    • Glucocorticoid
    • Lymphocyte
    • White blood cell

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Toxicology
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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