(Patho)physiological significance of the serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase isoforms

Physiol Rev. 2006 Oct;86(4):1151-78. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00050.2005.


The serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase-1 (SGK1) is ubiquitously expressed and under genomic control by cell stress (including cell shrinkage) and hormones (including gluco- and mineralocorticoids). Similar to its isoforms SGK2 and SGK3, SGK1 is activated by insulin and growth factors via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and the 3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase PDK1. SGKs activate ion channels (e.g., ENaC, TRPV5, ROMK, Kv1.3, KCNE1/KCNQ1, GluR1, GluR6), carriers (e.g., NHE3, GLUT1, SGLT1, EAAT1-5), and the Na+-K+-ATPase. They regulate the activity of enzymes (e.g., glycogen synthase kinase-3, ubiquitin ligase Nedd4-2, phosphomannose mutase-2) and transcription factors (e.g., forkhead transcription factor FKHRL1, beta-catenin, nuclear factor kappaB). SGKs participate in the regulation of transport, hormone release, neuroexcitability, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. SGK1 contributes to Na+ retention and K+ elimination of the kidney, mineralocorticoid stimulation of salt appetite, glucocorticoid stimulation of intestinal Na+/H+ exchanger and nutrient transport, insulin-dependent salt sensitivity of blood pressure and salt sensitivity of peripheral glucose uptake, memory consolidation, and cardiac repolarization. A common ( approximately 5% prevalence) SGK1 gene variant is associated with increased blood pressure and body weight. SGK1 may thus contribute to metabolic syndrome. SGK1 may further participate in tumor growth, neurodegeneration, fibrosing disease, and the sequelae of ischemia. SGK3 is required for adequate hair growth and maintenance of intestinal nutrient transport and influences locomotive behavior. In conclusion, the SGKs cover a wide variety of physiological functions and may play an active role in a multitude of pathophysiological conditions. There is little doubt that further targets will be identified that are modulated by the SGK isoforms and that further SGK-dependent in vivo physiological functions and pathophysiological conditions will be defined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular System / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Isoenzymes
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • serum-glucocorticoid regulated kinase