Tissue-specific glucocorticoid action: a family affair

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov;19(9):331-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2008.07.009. Epub 2008 Sep 19.


Glucocorticoids exert a wide variety of physiological and pathological responses, most of which are mediated by the ubiquitously expressed glucocorticoid receptor (GR). The glucocorticoid response varies among individuals, as well as within tissues from the same individual, and this phenomenon can be partially explained through understanding the process of generating bioavailable ligand and the molecular heterogeneity of GR. This review focuses on the recent advances in our understanding of prereceptor ligand metabolism, GR subtypes and GR polymorphisms. Furthermore, we evaluate the impact of tissue- and individual-specific diversity in the glucocorticoid pathway on human health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glucocorticoids / metabolism
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology
  • Glucocorticoids / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / genetics
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid