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The Glucocorticoid Receptor: A Revisited Target for Toxins

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Author(s): Jeanette I. Webster Marketon | Esther M. Sternberg

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 2;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 1357;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: glucocorticoid receptor | toxins | anthrax lethal toxin | bacterial toxins | environmental toxins

ABSTRACT
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and glucocorticoid responses are critical for survival from a number of bacterial, viral and toxic insults, demonstrated by the fact that removal of the HPA axis or GR blockade enhances mortality rates. Replacement with synthetic glucocorticoids reverses these effects by providing protection against lethal effects. Glucocorticoid resistance/insensitivity is a common problem in the treatment of many diseases. Much research has focused on the molecular mechanism behind this resistance, but an area that has been neglected is the role of infectious agents and toxins. We have recently shown that the anthrax lethal toxin is able to repress glucocorticoid receptor function. Data suggesting that the glucocorticoid receptor may be a target for a variety of toxins is reviewed here. These studies have important implications for glucocorticoid therapy.