Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
 
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 133-139

Genomic and non-genomic actions of glucocorticoids in asthma


Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, King Saud University and King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdullah A Alangari
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2925, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.65040

PMID: 20835306

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Glucocorticoids are the mainstay of asthma therapy. They are primarily used to suppress airway inflammation, which is the central pathological change in asthmatic patients' airways. This is achieved by many different mechanisms. The classical mechanism is by suppression of the genetic transcription of many inflammatory cytokines that are key in asthma pathophysiology (transrepression). On the other hand, the transcription of certain inhibitory cytokines is activated by glucocorticoids (transactivation), a mechanism that also mediates many of the adverse effects of glucocorticoids. The onset of action through these mechanisms is often delayed (4-24 hours). Other mechanisms mediated through non-genomic pathways are increasingly appreciated. These are delivered in part by binding of glucocorticoids to nonclassical membrane-bound glucocorticoid receptors or by potentiating the a1-adrenergic action on the bronchial arterial smooth muscles, in addition to other mechanisms. These effects are characterized by their rapid onset and short duration of action. Understanding these different mechanisms will help in the development of new and better drugs to treat this common disease and to develop new improved strategies in our approach to its management. Here, the genomic and non-genomic mechanisms of actions of glucocorticoids in asthma are briefly reviewed, with special emphasis on the current updates of the non-genomic mechanisms.


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