Effects of Glucocorticoids in the Immune System

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015:872:217-33. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2895-8_9.


Glucocorticoids (GCs) are steroid hormones with widespread effects. They control intermediate metabolism by stimulating gluconeogenesis in the liver, mobilize amino acids from extra hepatic tissues, inhibit glucose uptake in muscle and adipose tissue, and stimulate fat breakdown in adipose tissue. They also mediate stress response. They exert potent immune-suppressive and anti-inflammatory effects particularly when administered pharmacologically. Understanding these diverse effects of glucocorticoids requires a detailed knowledge of their mode of action. Research over the years has uncovered several details on the molecular action of this hormone, especially in immune cells. In this chapter, we have summarized the latest findings on the action of glucocorticoids in immune cells with a view of identifying important control points that may be relevant in glucocorticoid therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glucocorticoids / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*


  • Glucocorticoids