Glucocorticoid receptor function in vitro in patients with major depression

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Clinical studies have demonstrated an impairment of glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated negative feedback on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in patients with major depression (GR resistance), and its resolution by antidepressant treatment. Interestingly, a number of studies have also demonstrated that GR function is reduced in vitro, in peripheral tissues of depressed patients, as shown by a decreased sensitivity to the effects of glucocorticoids on immune and metabolic functions. This paper reviews the in vitro studies that have examined GR function in patients with major depression, and the possible molecular mechanisms involved in GR resistance. Since several studies have demonstrated similar regulation of GR in the brain and in peripheral tissues in humans, and given limited access to brain GR in clinical populations, this review claims that in vitro studies are of particular relevance to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying GR abnormalities in patients with major depression and its regulation by antidepressant treatment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209 - 219
Number of pages11
JournalStress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


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