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Updates and new concepts in regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression by steroid hormones

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Over several decades, the therapeutic use of glucocorticoids have established these molecules as potent inflammation suppressors. The description of transcriptional repression of pro-inflammatory genes as a nuclear receptor mediated mechanism represents a more recent topic of glucocorticoid signaling. ...

Over several decades, the therapeutic use of glucocorticoids have established these molecules as potent inflammation suppressors. The description of transcriptional repression of pro-inflammatory genes as a nuclear receptor mediated mechanism represents a more recent topic of glucocorticoid signaling. However, new evidences suggest that steroidal regulation of inflammation is more complex, including epigenetic and receptor-independent pathways. It is also likely that sets of genes behaves in contradictory ways, making gene repression not a rule, but rather one of the possible modulatory modes. A similar level of complexity might apply to other steroidal hormones, such as those involved in sexually dimorphic immune responses. In fact, some autoimmune diseases are much more prevalent in one gender compared to the other. In addition to well-known steroid hormones, including aldosterone and vitamin D, this review topic intends to cover also non-canonical steroid signaling, including oxysteroids and cardiotonic steroids. The description of tissue-specific effects, ranging from molecular level to physiological effects, are also of interest to the broad scope of the topic, which aims to challenge old ‘dogmas’ and to provide new insights in steroid signaling.


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