Although glucocorticoids are a profoundly important class of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents, their actions in dendritic cells (DCs) are not well understood. We found that dexamethasone, a potent glucocorticoid, selectively induced apoptosis in mature, but not in immature, DCs in healthy mice, in mice with experimental airway inflammation, and in vitro in bone marrow-derived DCs. Distinct glucocorticoid receptor (GR) translational isoforms expressed in immature and mature DCs probably contribute to the DC maturational stage-specific glucocorticoid sensitivity. The GR-D isoforms were the predominant isoforms in immature DCs, whereas the proapoptotic GR-A isoform was the main isoform in mature DCs. Ectopic expression of the GR-A isoform in immature DCs increased glucocorticoid sensitivity and RU486, a selective GR antagonist, inhibited the glucocorticoid sensitivity of mature DCs. Furthermore, the distinct expression pattern of GR isoforms in immature and mature murine DCs was also observed in human monocyte-derived DCs. These studies suggest that glucocorticoids may spare immature DCs and suppress mature DCs and inflammation via differential expression of GR translational isoforms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology