Enhancement of human eosinophil apoptosis by fluticasone propionate, budesonide, and beclomethasone

Eur J Pharmacol. 2000 Oct 20;406(3):325-32. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(00)00690-7.


Beclomethasone, budesonide, dexamethasone, and fluticasone propionate enhanced human eosinophil apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro as assessed by flow cytometric analysis and morphological analysis. The order of potency was fluticasone propionate (EC(50) 3.7+/-1.8 nM) approximately budesonide (EC(50) 5.0+/-1.7 nM)>beclomethasone (EC(50) 51+/-19 nM)>dexamethasone (EC(50) 303+/-40 nM). Hydrocortisone, prednisolone, and prednisone (up to 1 microM) did not induce any significant increase in eosinophil apoptosis. The apoptosis promoting effects of glucocorticoids on eosinophils were reversed by an antagonist of glucocorticoid receptor mifepristone. The survival-prolonging effect of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha was reversed by dexamethasone and fluticasone (1 microM). In contrast, fluticasone, and dexamethasone (1 microM) did not reverse the survival-prolonging effects of interleukins-3 and -5 or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The results suggest that fluticasone and budesonide induce eosinophil apoptosis at clinically achievable drug concentrations via an effect on glucocorticoid receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androstadienes / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Beclomethasone / pharmacology*
  • Budesonide / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eosinophils / drug effects*
  • Fluticasone
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-5 / pharmacology
  • Mifepristone / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • Androstadienes
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Interleukin-5
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Mifepristone
  • Budesonide
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Fluticasone
  • Beclomethasone