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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2011 Jun;7(6):340-8. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2011.59. Epub 2011 May 10.

Role of GILZ in immune regulation, glucocorticoid actions and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Center for Inflammatory Disease, Monash University Department of Medicine, Monash Medical Center, Block E Level 5, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia.


Glucocorticoids have been exploited therapeutically for more than six decades through the use of synthetic glucocorticoids as anti-inflammatory agents, and are still used in as many as 50% of patients suffering from inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Better understanding of the mechanisms of action of glucocorticoids could enable the development of therapies that dissociate the broad-spectrum benefits of glucocorticoids from their adverse metabolic effects. The glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper protein (GILZ; also known as TSC22 domain family protein 3) is a glucocorticoid-responsive molecule whose interactions with signal transduction pathways, many of which are operative in RA and other inflammatory diseases, suggest that it is a key endogenous regulator of the immune response. The overlap between the observed effects of GILZ on the immune system and those of glucocorticoids strongly suggest GILZ as a critical mediator of the therapeutic effects of glucocorticoids. Observations of the immunomodulatory effects of GILZ in human RA synovial cells, and in an in vivo model of RA, support the hypothesis that GILZ is a key glucocorticoid-induced regulator of inflammation in RA. Moreover, evidence that the effect of GILZ on bone loss might be in contrast to those of glucocorticoids suggests manipulation of GILZ as a potential means of dissociating the beneficial anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids from their negative metabolic repercussions.

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