Glucocorticoids, metabolism and metabolic diseases

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2007 Sep 15;275(1-2):43-61. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2007.05.015. Epub 2007 Jun 2.


Since the discovery of the beneficial effects of adrenocortical extracts for treating adrenal insufficiency more than 80 years ago, glucocorticoids (GC) and their cognate, intracellular receptor, the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) have been characterized as critical components of the delicate hormonal control system that determines energy homeostasis in mammals. Whereas physiological levels of GCs are required for proper metabolic control, excessive GC action has been tied to a variety of pandemic metabolic diseases, such as type II diabetes and obesity. Highlighted by its importance for human health, the investigation of molecular mechanisms of GC/GR action has become a major focus in biomedical research. In particular, the understanding of tissue-specific functions of the GC-GR pathway has been proven to be of substantial value for the identification of novel therapeutic options in the treatment of severe metabolic disorders. Therefore, this review focuses on the role of the GC-GR axis for metabolic homeostasis and dysregulation, emphasizing tissue-specific functions of GCs in the control of energy metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Glucocorticoids / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid