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Glucocorticoid receptor - Top 30 Publications

Critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency (CIRCI): a narrative review from a Multispecialty Task Force of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM).

To provide a narrative review of the latest concepts and understanding of the pathophysiology of critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency (CIRCI).

Up-regulation of claudin-2 expression by aldosterone in colonic epithelial cells of mice fed with NaCl-depleted diets.

Dietary NaCl depletion increases Na(+) absorption and K(+) secretion in the colon, but the mechanisms are not fully understood. In mice fed with NaCl-depleted diets, the expression of claudin-2 and -7 increased compared to those in control mice. Aldosterone (ALD) concentration was also increased. We examined the regulatory mechanism of claudin expression by ALD using the murine colonic epithelial MCE301 cells. ALD dose-dependently increased claudin-2 expression without affecting the expression of claudin-4, -7, -8, and -15. ALD increased nuclear distribution of mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), which was inhibited by spironolactone, an MR antagonist. The ALD-induced elevation of claudin-2 mRNA and protein expression was inhibited by spironolactone, but not by RU-486, a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist. Luciferase reporter assay showed that ALD interacts with the promoter region between -2,021 and -2,008 of human claudin-2. The binding of MR on the promoter region of claudin-2 was increased by ALD, which was inhibited by spironolactone in chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Our data suggest that ALD acts on MR and increases paracellular permeability to ions mediated by the elevation of claudin-2 expression in the colon. NaCl depletion may increase ALD secretion from adrenal cortex, resulting in the elevation of paracellular permeability to cations in the colon.

Expression and Genetic Variation in Neuroendocrine Signaling Pathways in Lethal and Nonlethal Prostate Cancer among Men Diagnosed with Localized Disease.

Recent data suggest that neuroendocrine signaling pathways may play a role in the progression of prostate cancer, particularly for early-stage disease. We aimed to explore whether expression of selected genes in the adrenergic, serotoninergic, glucocorticoid, and dopaminergic pathways differs in prostate tumor tissue from men with lethal disease compared to men with nonlethal disease.

Purity and Stability of the Membrane-Limited Glucocorticoid Receptor Agonist Dexamethasone-BSA.

Cellular effects of glucocorticoids can be separated into classical transcriptional regulation via activation of the canonical nuclear glucocorticoid receptor and rapid actions mediated by activation of one or more putative membrane-associated glucocorticoid receptors that regulate both transcriptional and non-transcriptional signaling. Dexamethasone-bovine serum albumin (Dex-BSA), is one of several membrane-limited steroid receptor agonists. Dex-BSA and other steroid conjugates such as corticosterone-, estradiol- and testosterone-BSA have been used to study rapid steroid effects initiated by a putative membrane receptor. The purity and stability of the steroid-BSA conjugate is crucial, therefore, since any steroid that is not bound to or that dissociates from the BSA conjugate could penetrate into the intracellular compartment and confound the experiment. We used fluorine NMR to determine if free Dex could be detected over time in a commercially available Dex-BSA dissolved in H2O. Non-covalently bound Dex was detected in the Dex-BSA solution, but the level of free Dex remained constant over time and over a range of temperatures, indicating that the free Dex was not a result of instability of the Dex-BSA conjugate. The free Dex was lost when the Dex-BSA was denatured and subjected to dialysis, which suggested that it was trapped in the Dex-BSA three-dimensional structure and not covalently bound to the BSA. The purified, renatured Dex-BSA retained its rapid activity, which confirmed that the observed effects of Dex-BSA are not caused by non-covalently-bound Dex. Therefore, the Dex contaminant found in the Dex-BSA solution is likely to be tightly, but non-covalently, bound to BSA, and the Dex-BSA activity remains membrane-limited. Our findings indicate that Dex-BSA remains a suitable membrane-restricted glucocorticoid receptor agonist, but suggest that denaturing purification is a useful control for the study of membrane-initiated steroid-BSA actions.

Selective glucocorticoid receptor antagonist CORT125281 activates brown adipose tissue and alters lipid distribution in male mice.

Glucocorticoids influence a wide range of metabolic processes in the human body and excessive glucocorticoid exposure is known to contribute to the development of metabolic disease. We evaluated the utility of the novel glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist CORT125281 for its potential to overcome adiposity, glucose intolerance and dyslipidaemia, and compared this head-to-head with classic GR antagonist RU486 (mifepristone). We show that, while RU486 displays cross-reactivity to the progesterone and androgen receptor, CORT125281 selectively inhibits GR transcriptional activity. In a mouse model for diet-induced obesity, rhythmicity of circulating corticosterone levels was disturbed. CORT125281 restored this disturbed rhythmicity, in contrast to RU486 that further inhibited endogenous corticosterone levels and suppressed adrenal weight. Both CORT125281 and RU486 reduced body weight gain and fat mass. In addition CORT125281, but not RU486, lowered plasma levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, and strongly stimulated triglyceride-derived fatty acid uptake by brown adipose tissue depots. In combination with reduced lipid content in brown adipocytes, this indicates that CORT125281 enhances metabolic activity of brown adipose tissue depots. CORT125281 was also found to increase liver lipid accumulation. Taken together, CORT125281 displayed a wide range of beneficial metabolic activities, that are in part distinct from RU486, but clinical utility may be limited due to liver lipid accumulation. This warrants further evaluation of GR antagonists or selective modulators that are not accompanied by liver lipid accumulation, while preserving their beneficial metabolic activities.

Sex-specific modulation of fetal adipogenesis by gestational bisphenol A and bisphenol S exposure.

The endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) increases adipose tissue mass in vivo and promotes adipogenesis in vitro. However, mechanisms explaining BPA's obesogenic effect remain unknown. We investigated the effects of gestational BPA and its analogue, bisphenol S (BPS), exposure on the adipogenic differentiation ability of fetal preadipocytes and the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in regulating this process. Pregnant sheep (n=7-8/group) mated to the same male were exposed to BPA or BPS from days 30 to 100 of gestation, and pregnancies terminated 20 days later. Adipose tissue was harvested and fetal preadipocytes isolated. Adipose tissue gene expression, adipocyte size, preadipocyte gene expression, adipogenic differentiation, and dynamic expression of genes involved in adipogenesis and endoplasmic reticulum stress were assessed. Gestational BPA enhanced adipogenic differentiation in female, but not male, preadipocytes. The unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway was upregulated in BPA-exposed female preadipocytes supportive of a higher endoplasmic reticulum stress. Increased expression of estradiol receptor 1 and glucocorticoid receptor in female preadipocytes suggests that this may be a potential cause behind the sex-specific effects observed upon BPA exposure. Gestational BPS affected adipogenic terminal differentiation gene expression in male preadipocytes, but not adipogenic differentiation potential. We demonstrate for the first time that gestational BPA exposure can modulate the differentiation ability of fetal preadipocytes. UPR upregulation in gestationally BPA-exposed female preadipocytes may contribute to the increased preadipocyte's adipogenic ability. The marked sex-specific effect of BPA highlights higher susceptibility of females to bisphenol A and potentially, a higher risk to develop obesity in adulthood.

Pioneer Factors FOXA1 and FOXA2 Assist Selective Glucocorticoid Receptor Signaling In Human Endometrial Cells.

Successful pregnancy relies on dynamic control of cell signaling in order to achieve uterine receptivity and the necessary biological changes required for endometrial decidualization, embryo implantation, and fetal development. Glucocorticoids are master regulators of intracellular signaling and can directly regulate embryo implantation and endometrial remodeling during murine pregnancy. In immortalized human uterine cells, we have shown that glucocorticoids and estradiol co-regulate thousands of genes. Recently, glucocorticoids and estradiol were shown to co-regulate the expression of Left-right determination factor 1 (LEFTY1), previously implicated in the regulation of decidualization. To elucidate the molecular mechanism by which glucocorticoids and estradiol regulate the expression of LEFTY1, immortalized and primary human endometrial cells were evaluated for gene expression and receptor recruitment to regulatory regions of the LEFTY1 gene. Glucocorticoid administration induced expression of LEFTY1 mRNA and protein and recruitment of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and activated polymerase II to the promoter of LEFTY1. Glucocorticoid-mediated recruitment of GR was dependent on pioneer factors FOXA1 and FOXA2. Estradiol was found to antagonize glucocorticoid-mediated induction of LEFTY1 by reducing recruitment of GR, FOXA1, FOXA2, and activated polymerase II to the LEFTY1 promoter. Gene expression analysis identified several genes whose glucocorticoid-dependent induction required FOXA1 and FOXA2 in endometrial cells. These results suggest a novel mechanism by which estradiol antagonizes GR-dependent induction of specific genes by preventing the recruitment of the pioneer factors FOXA1 and FOXA2 in a physiologically relevant model.

Selective Non-steroidal Glucocorticoid Receptor Modulators for the Inhaled Treatment of Pulmonary Diseases.

A class of potent, non-steroidal, selective indazole ether based glucocorticoid receptor modulators (SGRMs) was developed for the inhaled treatment of respiratory diseases. Starting from an orally available compound with demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in rat, a soft drug strategy was implemented to ensure rapid elimination of drug candidates and minimize systemic GR activation. The first clinical candidate 1b (AZD5423) displayed potent inhibition of lung edema in a rat model of allergic airway inflammation following dry powder inhalation combined with a moderate systemic GR-effect, assessed as thymic involution. Further optimization of inhaled drug properties provided a second, equally potent, candidate 15m (AZD7594) that demonstrated an improved therapeutic ratio over the benchmark inhaled corticosteroid 3 (fluticasone propionate) and prolonged inhibition of lung edema, indicating potential for once-daily treatment.

A non-transcriptional role for the glucocorticoid receptor in mediating the cell stress response.

The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is essential for the stress response in mammals. We investigated potential non-transcriptional roles of GR in cellular stress response using fission yeast as a model.We surprisingly discovered marked heat stress resistance in yeast ectopically expressing human GR, which required expression of both the N-terminal transactivation domain, and the C-terminal ligand binding domain, but not the DNA-binding domain of the GR. This effect was not affected by GR ligand exposure, and occurred without significant GR nuclear accumulation. Mechanistically, the GR survival effect required Hsp104, and, indeed, GR expression increased Hsp104 expression. Proteomic analysis revealed GR binding to translasome components, including eIF3, a known partner for Sty1, a pattern of protein interaction which we confirmed using yeast two-hybrid studies.Taken together, we find evidence for a novel pathway conferring stress resistance in yeast that can be activated by the human GR, acting by protein-protein mechanisms in the cytoplasm. This suggests that in organisms where GR is natively expressed, GR likely contributes to stress responses through non-transcriptional mechanisms in addition to its well-established transcriptional responses.

The Role and Regulation of the 11 Beta-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Enzyme System in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Glucocorticoids are known to modulate a number of immunological responses including counteracting inflammation. Within tissues expressing the glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors including the colon, glucocorticoid metabolism is regulated by the isoenzymes of 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD). 11β-HSD1 acts as an oxidoreductase converting inactive cortisone into active cortisol, while 11β-HSD2 acts as a dehydrogenase converting active cortisol to inactive cortisone. Hexose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH) is a key regulator of 11β-HSD1 activity via its generation of NADPH. Variations in the 11β-HSD enzyme system in relation to levels of expression and regulation may have a role in IBD. The aim of this study was to investigate possible abnormalities of 11β-HSD enzyme system in the colon of patients with IBD.

Hyperactivity of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Due to Dysfunction of the Hypothalamic Glucocorticoid Receptor in Sigma-1 Receptor Knockout Mice.

Sigma-1 receptor knockout (σ1R-KO) mice exhibit a depressive-like phenotype. Because σ1R is highly expressed in the neuronal cells of hypothalamic paraventricular nuclei (PVN), this study investigated the influence of σ1R deficiency on the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. Here, we show that the levels of basal serum corticosterone (CORT), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) as well as the level of CRF mRNA in PVN did not significantly differ between adult male σ1R-KO mice and wild-type (WT) mice. Acute mild restraint stress (AMRS) induced a higher and more sustainable increase in activity of HPA axis and CRF expression in σ1R-KO mice. Percentage of dexamethasone (Dex)-induced reduction in level of CORT was markedly attenuated in σ1R(-/-) mice. The levels of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation were reduced in the PVN of σ1R-KO mice and σ1R antagonist NE100-treated WT mice. The exposure to AMRS in σ1R-KO mice induced a stronger phosphorylation of cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) in PVN than that in WT mice. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of PKC activator PMA for 3 days in σ1R-KO mice not only recovered the GR phosphorylation and the percentage of Dex-reduced CORT but also corrected the AMRS-induced hyperactivity of HPA axis and enhancement of CRF mRNA and CREB phosphorylation. Furthermore, the injection (i.c.v.) of PMA in σ1R-KO mice corrected the prolongation of immobility time in forced swim test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST). These results indicate that σ1R deficiency causes down-regulation of GR by reducing PKC phosphorylation, which attenuates GR-mediated feedback inhibition of HPA axis and facilitates the stress response of HPA axis leading to the production of depressive-like behaviors.

Adrenal GIPR expression and chromosome 19q13 microduplications in GIP-dependent Cushing's syndrome.

GIP-dependent Cushing's syndrome is caused by ectopic expression of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptor (GIPR) in cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas or in bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasias. Molecular mechanisms leading to ectopic GIPR expression in adrenal tissue are not known. Here we performed molecular analyses on adrenocortical adenomas and bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasias obtained from 14 patients with GIP-dependent adrenal Cushing's syndrome and one patient with GIP-dependent aldosteronism. GIPR expression in all adenoma and hyperplasia samples occurred through transcriptional activation of a single allele of the GIPR gene. While no abnormality was detected in proximal GIPR promoter methylation, we identified somatic duplications in chromosome region 19q13.32 containing the GIPR locus in the adrenocortical lesions derived from 3 patients. In 2 adenoma samples, the duplicated 19q13.32 region was rearranged with other chromosome regions, whereas a single tissue sample with hyperplasia had a 19q duplication only. We demonstrated that juxtaposition with cis-acting regulatory sequences such as glucocorticoid response elements in the newly identified genomic environment drives abnormal expression of the translocated GIPR allele in adenoma cells. Altogether, our results provide insight into the molecular pathogenesis of GIP-dependent Cushing's syndrome, occurring through monoallelic transcriptional activation of GIPR driven in some adrenal lesions by structural variations.

The influence of stress hormones and aggression on cooperative behaviour in subordinate meerkats.

In cooperative breeders, aggression from dominant breeders directed at subordinates may raise subordinate stress hormone (glucocorticoid) concentrations. This may benefit dominants by suppressing subordinate reproduction but it is uncertain whether aggression from dominants can elevate subordinate cooperative behaviour, or how resulting changes in subordinate glucocorticoid concentrations affect their cooperative behaviour. We show here that the effects of manipulating glucocorticoid concentrations in wild meerkats (Suricata suricatta) on cooperative behaviour varied between cooperative activities as well as between the sexes. Subordinates of both sexes treated with a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist (mifepristone) exhibited significantly more pup protection behaviour (babysitting) compared to those treated with glucocorticoids (cortisol) or controls. Females treated with mifepristone had a higher probability of exhibiting pup food provisioning (pup-feeding) compared to those treated with cortisol. In males, there were no treatment effects on the probability of pup-feeding, but those treated with cortisol gave a higher proportion of the food they found to pups than those treated with mifepristone. Using 19 years of behavioural data, we also show that dominant females did not increase the frequency with which they directed aggression at subordinates at times when the need for assistance was highest. Our results suggest that it is unlikely that dominant females manipulate the cooperative behaviour of subordinates through the effects of aggression on their glucocorticoid levels and that the function of aggression directed at subordinates is probably to reduce the probability they will breed.

Inter-species functional interactome of nuclear steroid receptors (R1).

Steroids exert their actions by binding to the glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, androgen, estrogen and progesterone classes of receptors. Despite an exponential increase in our knowledge of steroid receptors, their interactions with other molecules, subcellular location and functions still need further elucidation. To unravel the mechanism(s) of action of the steroid hormones, as well as the function of their cognate nuclear receptors, an interaction network was created (henceforth referred to as "R1 Interactome")- illustrating that robust interactions have been preserved in rodents, frog, zebra fish and drosophila. The generated interactome of the retrieved orthologs across species revealed: a. interactions among surface-cytosol-nuclear receptors, and/or orphan receptors and genes, and b. nuclear corepressor 1 (NCOR1) as a major "hub", through which most steroid receptors interact. These mechanisms (i) integrate social behavior and environmental stimuli with intrinsic cellular functions, (ii) provide an explanatory mechanism of the major Public Health problem of "non-ionizing" radiation impact, surpassing the existing conflict over the "thermal"/ "non- thermal" consequences of radiation, linking all the so far proposed mechanisms, and addressing all reported effects in humans, rodents and insects, and (iii) reveal biologically or clinically important pathways and/or regulatory networks.

Glucocorticoid Sparing of Benralizumab in Asthma.

Glucocorticoid Sparing of Benralizumab in Asthma.

The Effect of Glucocorticoid and Glucocorticoid Receptor Interactions on Brain, Spinal Cord, and Glial Cell Plasticity.

Stress, injury, and disease trigger glucocorticoid (GC) elevation. Elevated GCs bind to the ubiquitously expressed glucocorticoid receptor (GR). While GRs are in every cell in the nervous system, the expression level varies, suggesting that diverse cell types react differently to GR activation. Stress/GCs induce structural plasticity in neurons, Schwann cells, microglia, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes as well as affect neurotransmission by changing the release and reuptake of glutamate. While general nervous system plasticity is essential for adaptation and learning and memory, stress-induced plasticity is often maladaptive and contributes to neuropsychiatric disorders and neuropathic pain. In this brief review, we describe the evidence that stress/GCs activate GR to promote cell type-specific changes in cellular plasticity throughout the nervous system.

Adenosine Receptor Stimulation Improves Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis in a Rat Model.

Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO) is a secondary cause of bone loss. Bisphosphonates approved for GIO, might induce jaw osteonecrosis; thus additional therapeutics are required. Adenosine receptor agonists are positive regulators of bone remodeling, thus the efficacy of adenosine receptor stimulation for treating GIO was tested. In a preventive study GIO was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by methylprednisolone (MP) for 60 days. Animals were randomly assigned to receive polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN), an adenosine A2 receptor agonist, or PDRN and DMPX (3,7-dimethyl-1-propargylxanthine, an A2 antagonist), or vehicle (0.9% NaCl). Another set of animals was used for a treatment study, following the 60 days of MP-induction rats were randomized to receive (for additional 60 days) PDRN, or PDRN and DMPX (an adenosine A2 receptor antagonist), or zoledronate (as control for gold standard treatment), or vehicle. Control animals were administered with vehicle for either 60 or 120 days. Femurs were analyzed after treatments for histology, imaging, and breaking strength analysis. MP treatment induced severe bone loss, the concomitant use of PDRN prevented the developing of osteoporosis. In rats treated for 120 days, PDRN restored bone architecture and bone strength; increased b-ALP, osteocalcin, osteoprotegerin and stimulated the Wnt canonical and non-canonical pathway. Zoledronate reduced bone resorption and ameliorated the histological features, without significant effects on bone formation. Our results suggest that adenosine receptor stimulation might be useful for preventing and treating GIO.

Correlation between polymorphisms of the NR3C1 gene and glucocorticoid effectiveness in patients with pemphigus vulgaris.

Glucocorticoid (GC) resistance is the major obscule in the treatment of pemphigus vulgaris (PV) for both patients and clinicans with unclear mechanism. A hypotheis for this resistance is the mutations or polymorphisms present in the nuclear receptor subfamily 3, group C, member 1 (NR3C1) gene that encodes receptors for steroid hormones. This study aimed to investigate the association between NR3C1 gene polymorphisms and GC effectiveness in PV patients. 94 PV patients (64 GC-sensitive and 30 GC-resistant) and 100 healthy volunteers were enrolled in this case-control study. The genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in BCL1, Arg23Lys, Asn363Ser 1548 t-insert, and le747Met, together with tag-SNP sites of the NR3C1 gene were evaluated. No significant differences were observed in genotypic and allelic frequencies of the 16 SNPs between PV patients and healthy volunteers. However, SNPs rs 11745958 C/T (OR: 8.95) and rs17209237 A/G (OR: 4.07) may be associated with an increased risk of GC resistance, while rs 33388 A/T (OR: 0.45) and rs7701443 A/G (OR: 0.51) may indicate a decreased risk of GC resistance in PV patients. NR3C1 gene variation may be associated with GC resistance in PV patients. More extensive genetic analyses and mechanistic analysis are required for further exploration.

Endogenous glucocorticoid signaling in chondrocytes attenuates joint inflammation and damage.

Previous studies demonstrated that endogenous glucocorticoid signaling in osteoblasts promotes inflammation in murine immune arthritis. The current study determined whether disruption of endogenous glucocorticoid signaling in chondrocytes also modulates the course and severity of arthritis. Tamoxifen-inducible chondrocyte-targeted glucocorticoid receptor knockout (chGRKO) mice were generated by breeding GR(flox/flox) mice with tamoxifen-inducible Collagen 2a1 Cre mice (Col2a1-CreER(T2)). Antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) and K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis (STIA) were induced in both chGRKO mice and their Cre-negative GR(flox/flox) littermates [wild type (WT)]. Arthritis was assessed by measurement of joint swelling and histology of joints collected at d 14. Neutrophil activity and gene expression patterns associated with cartilage damage were also evaluated. In both arthritis models clinical (joint swelling) and histologic indices of inflammatory activity were significantly greater in chGRKO than in WT mice. The STIA model was characterized by early up-regulation of CXCR2/CXCR2 ligand gene expression in ankle tissues, and significant and selective expansion of splenic CXCR2(+) neutrophils in chGRKO arthritic compared to WT arthritic mice. At later stages, gene expression of enzymes involved in cartilage degradation was up-regulated in chGRKO but not WT arthritic mice. Therefore, we summarize that chondrocytes actively mitigate local joint inflammation, cartilage degradation and systemic neutrophil activity via a glucocorticoid-dependent pathway.-Tu, J., Stoner, S., Fromm, P. D., Wang, T., Chen, D., Tuckermann, J., Cooper, M. S., Seibel, M. J., Zhou, H. Endogenous glucocorticoid signaling in chondrocytes attenuates joint inflammation and damage.

Histone Deacetylase Inhibition Ameliorates Hypertension and Hyperglycemia in a model of Cushing's Syndrome.

Cushing's syndrome (CS) caused by hypercortisolism is occasionally accompanied by metabolic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus (DM), dyslipidemia and central obesity. Thus, morbidity and mortality, observed in cardiovascular disease, are elevated in patients with CS. We hypothesized that HDAC inhibition (HDACi) decreased transcriptional activity of glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which ameliorates hypertension and hyperglycemia in patients with CS. To establish an animal model of hypercortisolism, Sprague-Dawley rats were infused with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH, 40 ng/day) or dexamethasone (Dex, 10 μg/day) via osmotic minipumps for 4 weeks. Expression of GR target genes was determined by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). GR enrichment on specific loci, and across the whole genome, was analyzed by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and ChIPseq respectively. HDACi decreased blood pressure and expression of ion regulators in the kidneys of ACTH-infused rats. Additionally, HDACi reduced deposition of polysaccharide, fasting blood glucose level, glucose intolerance, and expression of gluconeogenesis genes in the livers and kidneys of ACTH- and Dex-infused rats. Among class I HDACs, HDAC1 and HDAC3 interacted with GR. HDAC1 knockdown resulted in increased level of acetylation and decreased transcriptional activity of GR. GR recruitment on the promoters of 2,754 genes, which include ion transporters, channels, and gluconeogenic genes was significantly decreased by MS-275, a class I HDAC inhibitor. These results indicate that HDACi ameliorate hypertension and hyperglycemia in a model of CS by decreasing the transcriptional activity of GR via elevating its level of acetylation.

Expression of glucocorticoid receptor is associated with aggressive primary endometrial cancer and increases from primary to metastatic lesions.

Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) has emerged as an important steroid nuclear receptor in hormone dependent cancers, however few data are available regarding a potential role of GR in endometrial cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate expression of GR in primary and metastatic endometrial cancer lesions, and to assess the relationship between GR expression and clinical and histopathological variables and survival.

BOS Is Associated With Increased Cytotoxic Proinflammatory CD8 T, NKT-Like, and NK Cells in the Small Airways.

Immunosuppression therapy after lung transplantation fails to prevent bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) in many patients, primarily a disease of the small airways. We have reported that BOS is associated with a lack of suppression of cytotoxic mediators, and proinflammatory cytokines, in peripheral blood T, NKT-like (particularly CD8+) and NK cells. We also showed a loss of glucocorticoid receptor (GCR) in proinflammatory lymphocytes after transplant. It is unknown whether these proinflammatory lymphocytes target the small and/or large airways in BOS.

Novel therapeutics in glaucoma management.

Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy characterized by retinal ganglion cell death and alterations of visual field. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is considered the main risk factor of glaucoma, even though other factors cannot be ruled out, such as epigenetic mechanisms. An overview of the ultimate promising experimental drugs to manage glaucoma has been provided. In particular, we have focused on purinergic ligands, KATP channel activators, gases (nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide), non-glucocorticoid steroidal compounds, neurotrophic factors, PI3K/Akt activators, citicoline, histone deacetylase inhibitors, cannabinoids, dopamine and serotonin receptors ligands, small interference RNA, and Rho kinase inhibitors. The review has been also endowed of a brief chapter on last reports about potential neuroprotective benefits of anti-glaucoma drugs already present in the market.

Changes in DNA Methylation of Glucocorticoid-Induced Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor and Its Ligand in Liver Transplantation.

Liver transplantation (LT) is the criterion standard of care in patients with end-stage liver disease and those with tumors of hepatic origin in the setting of liver dysfunction. Chronic immune rejection of the liver transplant can lead to bad prognosis for patients. Glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR) play a key role in dominant immunologic self-tolerance maintained by CD25+/CD4+ regulatory T cells. Here, we investigated the DNA methylation variations of GITR and GITR ligand (GITRL) using pyrosequencing by analyzing blood DNA samples of patients after LT. Our results showed that the methylation level of certain CpGs, such as CpG_13, in GITRL was significantly reduced after LT. Furthermore, we found that the GITRL methylation statuses of cohorts with no chronic immune rejection were significantly lower compared with cohorts with chronic immune rejection after LT treatment. However, the methylation statuses of GITR were less varied. Using linear regression analysis, we further found that factors such as upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage, splenectomy, and creatinine might affect DNA methylation patterns in chronic immune rejection cohorts. These findings provide novel insights into the pivotal role of GITRL as a potential molecular biomarker for the triage of liver transplantation.


Selective glucocorticoid receptor modulators (GRMs) promise to reduce adverse events of glucocorticoids while maintaining anti-inflammatory potency. The present study tested the anti-inflammatory activity of two novel non-steroidal GRMs (GRM1: BI 607812 BS, GRM2: BI 653048 BS*H3PO4) in comparison to prednisolone in a canine model of low dose endotoxemia. This study compared the anti-inflammatory and pharmacokinetic profile of escalating daily oral doses of GRM1 (1, 2.5, 5 and 10mg/kg) and GRM2 (0.1, 0.25 and 1mg/kg) with prednisolone (0.25 and 0.5mg/kg) and placebo after intravenous infusion of endotoxin (0.1μg/kg) to Beagle dogs. This was followed by a 14-day evaluation study of safety and pharmacokinetics. Endotoxin challenge increased TNF-α ∼2000-fold and interleukin-6 (IL-6) 100-fold. Prednisolone and both GRMs suppressed peak TNF-α and IL-6 by 71-82% as compared with placebo. The highest doses of GRM1 and GRM2 reduced the mean body temperature increase by ∼30%. The endotoxin-induced rise in plasma cortisol was strongly suppressed in all treatment groups. Pharmacokinetics of both GRMs were non-linear. Adverse effects of endotoxemia such as vomiting were mitigated by GRM2 and prednisolone, indicating an antiemetic effect. During the 14-day treatment period, the adverse event profile of both GRMs appeared to be similar to prednisolone. Both GRMs had anti-inflammatory effects comparable to prednisolone and showed good safety profiles. Compounds targeting the glucocorticoid receptor selectively may provide an alternative to traditional glucocorticoids in the treatment of inflammatory disease.

Up-regulation of Rho-associated kinase 1/2 by glucocorticoids promotes migration, invasion and metastasis of melanoma.

Although glucocorticoids (GCs) regulate proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis of tumor cells, their influence on metastasis of tumor cells is poorly understood. Melanoma is a type of skin cancers with high metastasis. We investigated the effect of GCs on metastasis of melanoma cells and its mechanism. We found that GCs significantly promoted the adhesion, migration, invasion of melanoma cells in vitro and lung metastasis in experimental melanoma metastasis mice. Dexamethasone (Dex), a synthetic GC, did not change the RhoA, RhoB and RhoC signalings, but significantly increased the expression and activity of Rho-associated kinase 1/2 (ROCK1/2). The effect of Dex was to increase ROCK1/2 stability mediated by glucocorticoid receptor. Inhibiting ROCK1/2 activity with Y-27632, a ROCK1/2 inhibitor abrogated the pro-migration and pro-metastasis effects of GCs in vitro and in vivo, indicating that ROCK1/2 mediated the pro-metastasis effects of GCs. Activation of PI3K/AKT also contributed to the pro-migration and pro-invasion effects of Dex partially through up-regulating ROCK1/2 expression. Additionally, Dex also down-regulated the expression of tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase-2. Taken together, our findings provide new data to understand the possible promoting roles and mechanisms of GCs in melanoma metastasis.

SIRT1 is a transcriptional enhancer of the glucocorticoid receptor acting independently to its deacetylase activity.

Glucocorticoids have strong effects on diverse human activities through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is a NAD(+)-dependent histone deacetylase and promotes longevity by influencing intermediary metabolism and other regulatory activities including mitochondrial function. In this study, we examined the effects of SIRT1 on GR-mediated transcriptional activity. We found that SIRT1 enhanced GR-induced transcriptional activity on exogenous and endogenous glucocorticoid-responsive genes, whereas knockdown of SIRT1 attenuated it. This effect of SIRT1 was independent to its deacetylase activity, as the SIRT1 mutant defective in this activity (H363Y) enhanced GR transcriptional activity, and the compounds inhibiting or activating the SIRT1 deacetylase activity did not influence it. RNA-seq analysis revealed that SIRT1 knockdown influenced ∼30% of the glucocorticoid-responsive transcriptome for most of which it acted as an enhancer for positive/negative effects of this hormone. SIRT1 physically interacted with GR, and was attracted to GR-bound glucocorticoid response elements in a glucocorticoid-dependent fashion. SIRT1 cooperatively activated GR transcriptional activity with the PPARγ coactivator-1α also in its deacetylase activity-independent fashion. Thus, SIRT1 is a novel transcriptional enhancer of GR-induced transcriptional activity possibly by functioning as a scaffold for the transcriptional complex formed on GR.

Tissue-, sex- and age-specific DNA methylation of rat glucocorticoid receptor gene promoter and insulin like growth factor 2 imprinting control region.

Tissue-, sex- and age-specific epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation are largely unknown. Changes in DNA methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) and imprinting control region (ICR) of IGF2 and H19 genes during the lifespan are particularly interesting since these genes are susceptible to epigenetic modifications by prenatal stress or malnutrition. They are important regulators of development and aging. Methylation changes of NR3C1 affect glucocorticoid receptor expression, which is associated with stress sensitivity and stress-related diseases predominantly occurring during aging. Methylation changes of IGF2/H19 affect growth trajectory and nutrient use with risk of metabolic syndrome. Using a locus-specific approach, we characterized DNA methylation patterns of different Nr3c1 promoters and Igf2/H19 ICR in seven tissues of rats at 3, 9 and 24 months of age. We found a complex pattern of locus-, tissue-, sex- and age-specific DNA methylation. Tissue-specific methylation was most prominent at the shores of the Nr3c1 CpG island (CGI). Sex-specific differences in methylation peaked at 9 months. During aging, Nr3c1 predominantly displayed hypomethylation mainly in females and at shores, whereas hypermethylation occurred within the CGI. Igf2/H19 ICR exhibited age-related hypomethylation occurring mainly in males. Methylation patterns of Nr3c1 in the skin correlated with those in the cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus. Skin may serve as proxy for methylation changes in central parts of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and hence for vulnerability to stress- and age-associated diseases. Thus, we provide in-depth insight into the complex DNA methylation changes of rat Nr3c1 and Igf2/H19 during aging that are tissue- and sex-specific.

Profiling of bisphenol S towards nuclear receptors activities in human reporter cell lines.

Bisphenol S (BPS) is heat-stable structural analog of bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor. Due to the effort to replace BPA with BPS, it is essential to know if BPS is suitable non-toxic replacement without reported deleterious effects of BPA. Since most of the BPA effects are ascribed to its ability to activate nuclear receptors, we screened some prominent members of this family in order to confirm or refute some recent findings. We found that BPS insignificantly activated aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in reporter gene assay and no induction of AhR target gene CYP1A1 was observed in human hepatocytes (HH). BPS was able to act like an antagonist of pregnane X receptor (PXR) in reporter gene assay, but the expression of PXR target gene CYP3A4, was only moderately affected in HH. While BPS antagonized dexamethasone-inducible glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-dependent luciferase activity in reporter gene assay (IC50=52μM), it was not able to antagonize dexamethasone effects on GR-target genes, including GILZ, NFKBIA and IL-6. Synergistic effect of BPS (range 0.001-100μM) and DHT (100nM) was observed at androgen receptor (AR) activity level only. In conclusion, we show that BPS had only limited effect on tested nuclear receptors. Moreover, submicromolar concentrations of BPS affected activated AR. Thus, due to the low levels of exposure for humans, BPS is probably of no regulatory concern. However, further investigation should delineate possible impact on male/female development or sexual functions.