Anti-inflammatory actions of steroids: molecular mechanisms

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1993 Dec;14(12):436-41. doi: 10.1016/0165-6147(93)90184-l.


Glucocorticosteroids are highly effective in controlling inflammation and the molecular mechanisms involved are now becoming clear. Activation of glucocorticoid receptors results in increased or decreased transcription of a number of genes involved in the inflammatory process. Of particular importance is the repression of cytokine gene transcription and the direct interaction between the glucocorticoid receptor and other transcription factors activated in chronic inflammation. In this review, Peter Barnes and Ian Adcock discuss recent studies that have increased our understanding of these mechanisms and that may lead to improved anti-inflammatory therapies in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / genetics
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism*
  • Steroids
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cytokines
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Steroids
  • Transcription Factors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases