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J Leukoc Biol. 2006 Jul;80(1):133-44. Epub 2006 May 2.

Effects of glucocorticoids on STAT4 activation in human T cells are stimulus-dependent.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Neurology, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Glucocorticoids affect the immune system by a number of mechanisms, including modulation of cytokine production in lymphocytes. Glucocorticoids suppress T helper cell type 1 immune responses by decreasing the ability of T cells to respond to interleukin (IL)-12, a major inducer of interferon (IFN)-gamma. IFN-beta increases the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and suppresses IL-12. Signaling pathways through IFN-beta and the IL-12 receptor (IL-12R) involve activation by phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4). Our aim was to investigate the effects of dexamethasone on STAT4 activation by IFN-beta and IL-12 in human T cell blasts. We report that dexamethasone decreases IL-12-induced STAT4 phosphorylation and IFN-gamma production and enhances IFN-beta-induced STAT4 activation and IL-10 production. These effects are associated with a down-regulation of IL-12Rbeta1 expression but an up-regulation of IFN-betaR. These results indicate that the effect of glucocorticoids on the STAT4 signaling pathway depends on the stimulus activating that pathway.

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