Glucocorticosteroids in Asthma

  • S. F. Smith
  • C. P. Page
  • P. J. Barnes
  • R. J. Flower
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 98)


The mechanisms by which glucocorticosteroids act to control asthma are unclear, partly because the underlying pathology causing this condition remains to be fully elucidated, and also because many of the actions of glucocorticosteroids are still unexplained. In particular, their anti-inflammatory effects are the most frequently harnessed by clinicians, but the least well understood. Glucocorticosteroids can cause certain cellular responses by direct interaction with cell membranes or, more commonly, they complex with specific receptors to modulate gene expression and protein synthesis. In the context of asthma therapy, steroid-induced protein synthesis may occur either in the respiratory tract, or elsewhere in the body, with secondary effects occurring in the airways. For example, stimulation by glucocorticosteroids of α1-proteinase inhibitor synthesis in the liver increases circulating levels of this protein and thus may modify the proteinase-antiproteinase balance of the airways and lungs.


Allergy Clin Immunol Sodium Cromoglycate Adrenal Suppression Disodium Cromoglycate Human Alveolar Macrophage 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. F. Smith
  • C. P. Page
  • P. J. Barnes
  • R. J. Flower

There are no affiliations available

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