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J Steroid Biochem. 1987;27(4-6):1053-6.

Regulation of prostaglandin formation by glucocorticoids and their second messenger, lipocortins.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Glucocorticoids induce the synthesis of a family of phospholipase inhibitory proteins, lipocortins. This family of lipocortins includes inhibitory proteins on phospholipase A2, phospholipase C and phosphatidylinositol phospholipase C. Hence, glucocorticoids reduce the formation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes by inhibiting cellular phospholipases, enzymes that degrade membrane phospholipids to release arachidonic acid, a precursor. The induction by glucocorticoids requires 1 h for the synthesis of mRNA and 5 h for the synthesis of proteins in various tissues and cells. However, glucocorticoids often exert their suppressive effects before the induction of lipocortins. This is now attributed to the nonenzymic formation of the adducts between glucocorticoids and lipocortins. These adducts are easily inserted into the membranes and more resistant to digestion of proteases, thus being more biologically potent with respect to suppression of the release of arachidonic acid, a precursor of prostaglandins and leukotrienes.

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