Glucocorticoids have been used since several decades in a variety of diseases in view of their potent anti-inflammatory properties. Nevertheless, the widespread use of glucocorticoids is hampered by the risk of side effects. Because the effects of glucocorticoids are mediated at large through interaction with the glucocorticoid receptor, which results in anti-inflammatory effects as well as side effects, much attention has been given to understanding the molecular regulation. Over the past decade, remarkable progress has been made in the mechanisms mediating glucocorticoid receptor dependent gene regulation. In this review we provide an overview of recent progress in understanding the mode of action of glucocorticoids and novel strategies to dissociate anti-inflammatory from metabolic side effects.
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