Q. We heard in class today that steroids are used for autoimmune diseases, and I’ve heard this before but never understood why. What is it about steroids that make them effective as immunosuppressants?
A. There are lots of mechanisms by which steroids dampen the immune response. Here are a few of them:
1. Suppression of T cells. Steroids interfere with production of cytokines (like interleukins), which are critical in the proliferation and interaction of T cells.
2. Suppression of B cells. Steroids interfere with the binding of interleukins to B cells, which means that the B cells have a hard time proliferating and making antibodies.
3. Suppression of neutrophils. Steroids inhibit just about everything that neutrophils do: adhesion, chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and the release of toxic substances.
4. Suppression of macrophages. Steroids down-regulate the expression of Fc receptors on macrophages – so macrophages are less able to phagocytose opsonized things.
5. Diminished production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Steroids inhibit cyclooxygenase and phospholipase A2, which decreases the production of pro-inflammatory arachadonic acid metabolites.
Steroids are used in a ton of different immune and inflammatory disorders, like asthma, vasculitis, arthritis, gout, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, alopecia areata…the list goes on and on.
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- yohannes molalign said thank you!!!
- Madiha said Very nice explanation.
- blueheather said Thank you very much for your well explanations. Yours is clearer than my professor’s.
- Dr Sagara said Grate summery…cleared problems….thanks P bites
- Vidhi motka said Love to be part of this
- Anastassia said Thanks! I’m delighted.
- Brian said *make
- Brian said Ah, I suppose that does sense, especially in light of their respective reference ranges. Thanks for...
- Kristine said Great question! I’ve never seen an explanation of this – but I think it’s because...
- Anna said Thanks a lot.yoir explanations a very easy to comprehend and remember
- Brian said Thanks for the great explanation. A thought occurred to me, though. Perhaps I’m missing someth...