Glucocorticoid (GCs) hormones have pleiotropic activities in the body playing important roles in metabolism and modulating/regulating the stress and immune responses. Upon stimuli that trigger immune or inflammatory responses there is a concomitant activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis ultimately manifested by an increase in the synthesis and release of GCs to the systemic circulation. GCs play a pivotal role in the interface between the neuroendocrine and immune systems by modulating the final outcome of the immune response. The successful resolution of an immune response depends on the fine tune interplay between GCs and cytokines. The interaction between intracellular signals elicited by cytokines and the activated glucocorticoid receptor (GR) results in the induction or repression of gene transcription coordinating an effective immune response, and then its resolution avoiding excessive deleterious reactions. Herein, we describe recent knowledge regarding basic research in the complex interaction between GCs and components of the immune system at cellular and molecular levels, as well as their clinical implications for health and disease. The benefits of therapeutic GCs controlling immune disorders as well as their misconduct are also discussed in terms of considering the benefits and adverse effects to control disease and inflammation.
Keywords: Glucocorticoids, transcription factors, molecular interaction, inflammation.
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