Evidence that glucocorticosteroids block expression of the human interleukin-6 gene by accessory cells

Transplantation. 1990 Jan;49(1):183-5. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199001000-00040.


The mode of action of glucocorticosteroids as immunosuppressive and antiinflammatory agents is not fully understood. Glucocorticosteroids block synthesis of interleukin 1 by interfering with the transcription of the IL-1 beta gene. Glucocorticosteroids may also induce rapid degradation of IL-1 mRNA. In the presence of antigen, IL-1 is a potent accessory-cell-derived growth and differentiation co-factor for stimulating resting T lymphocytes. The recently defined interleukin 6 protein is even more powerful than IL-1 in promoting T cell growth and differentiation and acts synergistically with IL-1. Like IL-1, IL-6 is produced by accessory cells and exhibits pleiotropic functions. We herein describe the effects of glucocorticosteroids on IL-6 synthesis. We provide evidence that glucocorticosteroids prevent IL-6 gene transcription in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / drug effects*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2