An established body of knowledge and clinical practice has argued in favor of the use of glucocorticoids in various chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, the very well-known adverse effects associated with their treatment hampers continuation of therapy with glucocorticoids. Analyses of the molecular mechanisms underlying the actions of glucocorticoids have led to the discovery of several mediators that add complexity and diversity to the puzzling world of these hormones and anti-inflammatory drugs. Such mediators hold great promise as alternative pharmacologic tools to be used as anti-inflammatory drugs with the same properties as glucocorticoids, but avoiding their metabolic side effects. This review summarizes findings about the molecular targets and mediators of glucocorticoid function.

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