What is it about?

In this study, we investigate the changes happening at the level of the pituitary gland (which controls cortisol production from the adrenal, e.g. during stress) in a mouse model of long-term glucocorticoid (GC) treatment. As expected, one-month treatment with the GC dexamethasone strongly reduced adrenal function; it also had strong effects on the expression of genes in the pituitary. Most of the genes go back to normal one week after withdrawal, although few persist even a month after. Our data shows small but long-lasting changes in pituitary function; while they are not associated with a reduction in hormones, they might affect responses to future GC treatments, or to stress; these changes could underlie some of the long-term effects seen in some patients.

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Why is it important?

Glucocorticoids (GC) are drugs prescribed long-term for a variety of conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBD and many more. When on GC, your adrenal gland stops producing its own GC, however when stopping the treatment many patients do not recover for a long time. This can sometimes be fatal and has a strong clinical impact.

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This page is a summary of: Corticotroph isolation from Pomc ‐eGFP mice reveals sustained transcriptional dysregulation characterising a mouse model of glucocorticoid‐induced suppression of the Hypothalamus‐Pituitary‐Adrenal axis, Journal of Neuroendocrinology, May 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/jne.13165.
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