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Side effects in cortisone preparations – the causes are finally illuminated by the researchers



The researchers explained the cause of side effects in cortisone preparations

Although cortisone is successfully used in many diseases, it often causes unwanted side effects, including metabolism. Why so, he was now an international research team that enlightened him.

A medicine with a wide range of applications

Cortisone prescribes a doctor for many different conditions. It is often used for inflammation and allergic reactions. Among other things, it also applies to skin diseases, rheumatism, asthma, intestinal or multiple sclerosis. Although hardly any other drug has such a large range of applications, many patients have the reserve or fear of cortisone side effects. Researchers have now been able to clarify the cause of certain side effects in cortisone preparations.

(Picture: eenevski / fotolia.com)
Patients treated with cortisone preparations may have undesirable side effects. Researchers have now clarified the cause of certain side effects. (Picture: eenevski / fotolia.com)

Side effects in metabolism

In patients who are long-term with anti-inflammatory steroids, side effects may occur in the metabolism.

Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), members of the German Diabetes Research Center (DZD) have now been able to clarify the mechanism with international colleagues leading to so-called steroid diabetes.

The results were published in the journal Nature Communications.

steroid diabetes

"Glucocorticoids such as cortisone have been used for decades to treat inflammatory diseases such as asthma or rheumatism, and are usually prescribed anti-inflammatory preparations," explains prof. Dr. Honey. Henriette Uhlenhaut in the message.

"But they are also used for autoimmune diseases, organ transplants or cancer," says the head of the group at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at Helmholtz Zentrum München (IDO) and in the Gene Center of LMU.

"According to estimates, it is treated by one to three percent of people in the Western world, which would now be more than a million people in Germany."

However, their diversity is limited by the various side effects that may occur during therapy. This includes unwanted effects on metabolism.

Since glucocorticoids bind to their receptors in body cells, it starts to include and exclude numerous genes.

"These include various metabolic genes, which can lead to so-called steroid diabetes," explains Henriette Uhlenhaut.

New possibilities of therapeutic intervention

In the current study, her team, together with colleagues from the Max Delbrück Molecular Medicine Center in Berlin, the Salk Institute in San Diego, and the University of Freiburg, have investigated the exact mechanisms that follow steroid binding to the receptor.

"The transcriptional factor E47, which together with the glucocorticoid receptor provides the modified gene activity, especially in liver cells, is particularly affected," says Charlotte Hemmer, a student of IDO's PhD study and the first author of the present work.

"We managed to solve this link through genomic analysis and genetic experiments."

To substantiate their findings, scientists have also investigated the pre-clinical model.

"In fact, the absence of E47 in this case is protected from the negative effects of glucocorticoids, while the use of steroids in intact E47 is associated with metabolic changes such as hypoglycemia, elevated lipid in the blood or fat liver," explains Charlotte Hemmer.

Since components of the newly discovered mechanism exist in humans, Uhlenhaut and her team, together with their partners for clinical cooperation, want to know in the future whether the results will be confirmed.

"In this case, new therapeutic intervention options can be offered to prevent side effects of steroid therapy with safer immunosuppressive drugs," Henriette Uhlenhaut hopes. (AD)


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