Author(s): Farrell RJ, Kelleher D
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Abstract Glucocorticoids are potent inhibitors of T cell activation and proinflammatory cytokines and are highly effective treatment for active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, failure to respond, acutely or chronically, to glucocorticoid therapy is a common indication for surgery in IBD, with as many as 50\% of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and approximately 20\% of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) requiring surgery in their lifetime as a result of poor response to glucocorticoids. Studies report that approximately one-third of patients with CD are steroid dependent and one-fifth are steroid resistant while approximately one-quarter of patients with UC are steroid dependent and one-sixth are steroid resistant. While the molecular basis of glucocorticoid resistance has been widely assessed in other inflammatory conditions, the pathophysiology of the glucocorticoid resistance in IBD is poorly understood. Research in IBD suggests that the phenomenon of glucocorticoid resistance is compartmentalised to T-lymphocytes and possibly other target inflammatory cells. This review focuses on three key molecular mechanisms of glucocorticoid resistance in IBD: (i) decreased cytoplasmic glucocorticoid concentration secondary to increased P-glycoprotein-mediated efflux of glucocorticoid from target cells due to overexpression of the multidrug resistance gene (MDR1); (ii) impaired glucocorticoid signaling because of dysfunction at the level of the glucocorticoid receptor; and (iii) constitutive epithelial activation of proinflammatory mediators, including nuclear factor kappa B, resulting in inhibition of glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity. In addition, the impact of disease heterogeneity on glucocorticoid responsiveness and recent advances in IBD pharmacogenetics are discussed.
This article was published in J Endocrinol
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System