Regulation of differential pro- and anti-apoptotic signaling by glucocorticoids

Ingrid Herr, Nikolaus Gassler, Helmut Friess, Markus W. Büchler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


More than a quarter of a century ago, the phenomenon of glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in the majority of hematological cells was first recognized. More recently, glucocorticoid-induced antiapoptotic signaling associated with apoptosis resistance has been identified in cells of epithelial origin, most of malignant solid tumors and some other tissues. Despite these huge amount of data demonstrating differential pro- and anti-apoptotic effects of glucocortioids, the underlying mechanisms of cell type specific glucocorticoid signaling are just beginning to be described. This review summarizes our present understanding of cell type-specific pro- and anti-apoptotic signaling induced by glucocorticoids. In the first section we give a summary and update of known glucocorticoid-induced pathways mediating apoptosis in hematological cells. We shortly introduce mechanisms of glucocorticoid resistance of hematological cells. We highlight and discuss the emerging molecular evidence of a general induction of survival signaling in epithelial cells and carcinoma cells by glucocorticoids. We provide a model for glucocorticoid-induced resistance in cells growing in a tissue formation. Thus, attachment to the extracellular matrix and cell-cell contacts typical for e.g. epithelial and tumor cells may be crucially involved in switching the balance of several interacting pathways to survival upon treatment with glucocorticoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-291
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Chemotherapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Resistance
  • Survival


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of differential pro- and anti-apoptotic signaling by glucocorticoids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this