Therapeutic Mechanisms of Glucocorticoids

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jan;29(1):42-54. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Nov 20.


Glucocorticoids (GCs) have been used clinically for decades as potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents. Nevertheless, their use is severely hampered by the risk of developing side effects and the occurrence of glucocorticoid resistance (GCR). Therefore, efforts to understand the complex mechanisms underlying GC function and GCR are ongoing. The goal is to generate new glucocorticoid receptor (GR) ligands that can dissociate anti-inflammatory from metabolic side effects and/or overcome GCR. In this review paper we discuss recent insights into GR-mediated actions in GCR and novel therapeutic strategies for acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: glucocorticoid receptor; glucocorticoid resistance; inflammatory diseases; monomer–dimer concept; side effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / metabolism*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid