The role of microRNAs in glucocorticoid action

Sally A. Clayton, Simon W. Jones, Mariola Kurowska-stolarska, Andrew R. Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
289 Downloads (Pure)


Glucocorticoids (GCs) are steroids with profound anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities. Synthetic GCs are widely used for managing chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, as immunosuppressants in transplantation, and as anti-tumor agents in certain hematological cancers. However, prolonged GC exposure can cause adverse effects. A detailed understanding of GCs' mechanisms of action may enable harnessing of their desirable actions while minimizing harmful effects. Here, we review the impact on the GC biology of microRNAs, small non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. Emerging evidence indicates that microRNAs modulate GC production by the adrenal glands and the cells' responses to GCs. Furthermore, GCs influence cell proliferation, survival, and function at least in part by regulating microRNA expression. We propose that the beneficial effects of GCs may be enhanced through combination with reagents targeting specific microRNAs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1865-1874
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2018


  • epigenetics
  • microRNA (miRNA)
  • glucocorticoid
  • glucocorticoid receptor
  • apoptosis
  • inflammation


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