The Control of Lysosomal Enzyme Synthesis and Effects of Steroids

  • A. C. Allison
  • P. Davies
Part of the Biological Council book series (BCSDA)


Anti-inflammatory effects of adrenal cortical hormones have attracted a great deal of attention during the last decade, especially in connection with rheumatoid arthritis. The following points are well accepted:
  1. 1.

    Rheumatoid synovia contain large numbers of mononuclear cells: lymphocytes (including large pyroninophilic cells, which may be blasts or transformed cells) and macrophages [1, 2].

  2. 2.

    In cultures of chick embryonic cartilage, release of lysosomal hydrolases following exposure to anti-cellular antibody or other stressing agents brings about the breakdown of matrix. Studies with specific antibody show that cathepsin D plays a major role in this process [3]. It is likely that release of hydrolases from mononuclear cells is also an important cause of cartilage erosion in rheumatoid arthritis [2].

  3. 3.

    The spontaneous release of lysosomal hydrolases from cultured cells, and that induced by complement-sufficient antibody or ultraviolet light, is in large measure prevented by administration of hydrocortisone [4, 5].

  4. 4.

    Glucocorticoids diminish the release of hydrolases from isolated lysosomes in vitro under a variety of conditions [6]. These steroids also decrease the redistribution of lysosomal hydrolases which follows the administration of endotoxin [7]. The latter does not necessarily imply intracellular release of hydrolases after endotoxin administration, but the lysosomes may be more readily disrupted by homogenization.



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Copyright information

© Institute of Biology Endowment Fund 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. C. Allison
    • 1
  • P. Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Research CentreHarrow, MiddlesexEngland

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