New research appearing in the journal Nature Communications highlights the discovery of a new mechanism by which glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormones, act to suppress inflammation. The discovery could be used in the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs without the harmful side effects of steroids. Steroids have been effective at suppressing inflammation, but if used for long-term treatment they can cause serious side effects such as increased risk of infections, liver damage, fluid retention, increased blood pressure, weight gain, easy bruising and slower wound healing.
The researchers found glucocorticoids tightly control bacteria-induced innate immune and inflammatory response by enhancing IRAK-M, one of the most critical negative feedback regulators of inflammation that inhibits the activation of the proteins MyD88 and IRAK1/4. They propose that IRAK-M is a novel target of glucocorticoids to suppress bacteria-induced inflammation. The study provides new insights into the previously unidentified role of glucocorticoids in suppressing inflammation by targeting the central bottleneck proteins MyD88 and IRAK1/4. Read a news story about the research here.