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.
- Joel COVAB said Absolutely the best ever
- chand said thank u so much 4 d info……it is useful…
- Kristine said Here are a couple posts that might help: one on white blood cells in general, and one on neutrophils...
- sanjaya wagle said how can we differenciate blood cells looking on.their morphology. i want to.know…
- setare said Goooooooood
- gifty said Thanx. My doubts hv been cleared
- Obianuju said Amazing explanation.
- Juliana said Thank you. Your material really helped me understand this test.
- Anna said I had a stroke when I was 24. Here is my Swiss cheese brain....
- haseeb khan said very nice
- Nicholas said Thanks a lot. This is very well explained.
- Maina said am a BSc Medical lab 2nd year student and i think this is the best explanation i have had.