Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53936. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053936. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Glucocorticoid repression of inflammatory gene expression shows differential responsiveness by transactivation- and transrepression-dependent mechanisms.

Author information

Airways Inflammation Research Group, Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Binding of glucocorticoid to the glucocorticoid receptor (GR/NR3C1) may repress inflammatory gene transcription via direct, protein synthesis-independent processes (transrepression), or by activating transcription (transactivation) of multiple anti-inflammatory/repressive factors. Using human pulmonary A549 cells, we showed that 34 out of 39 IL-1β-inducible mRNAs were repressed to varying degrees by the synthetic glucocorticoid, dexamethasone. Whilst these repressive effects were GR-dependent, they did not correlate with either the magnitude of IL-1β-inducibility or the NF-κB-dependence of the inflammatory genes. This suggests that induction by IL-1β and repression by dexamethasone are independent events. Roles for transactivation were investigated using the protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide. However, cycloheximide reduced the IL-1β-dependent expression of 13 mRNAs, which, along with the 5 not showing repression by dexamethasone, were not analysed further. Of the remaining 21 inflammatory mRNAs, cycloheximide significantly attenuated the dexamethasone-dependent repression of 11 mRNAs that also showed a marked time-dependence to their repression. Such effects are consistent with repression occurring via the de novo synthesis of a new product, or products, which subsequently cause repression (i.e., repression via a transactivation mechanism). Conversely, 10 mRNAs showed completely cycloheximide-independent, and time-independent, repression by dexamethasone. This is consistent with direct GR transrepression. Importantly, the inflammatory mRNAs showing attenuated repression by dexamethasone in the presence of cycloheximide also showed a significantly greater extent of repression and a higher potency to dexamethasone compared to those mRNAs showing cycloheximide-independent repression. This suggests that the repression of inflammatory mRNAs by GR transactivation-dependent mechanisms accounts for the greatest levels of repression and the most potent repression by dexamethasone. In conclusion, our data indicate roles for both transrepression and transactivation in the glucocorticoid-dependent repression of inflammatory gene expression. However, transactivation appears to account for the more potent and efficacious mechanism of repression by glucocorticoids on these IL-1β-induced genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center