Review

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, 63:565

First online:

Intra-vascular glucocorticoid metabolism as a modulator of vascular structure and function

  • P. W. F. HadokeAffiliated withEndocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Edinburgh University, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute Email author 
  • , L. MacdonaldAffiliated withEndocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Edinburgh University, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
  • , J. J. LogieAffiliated withEndocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Edinburgh University, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
  • , G. R. SmallAffiliated withEndocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Edinburgh University, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
  • , A. R. DoverAffiliated withEndocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Edinburgh University, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
  • , B. R. WalkerAffiliated withEndocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Edinburgh University, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute

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Abstract.

The ability of glucocorticoids to directly alter arterial function, structure and the inflammatory response to vascular injury may contribute to their well-established link with the development of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have emphasised the importance of tissue-specific regulation of glucocorticoid availability by the 11 β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11HSD) isozymes, which inter-convert active glucocorticoids and their inactive metabolites. The expression of both type 1 and type 2 11HSDs in the arterial wall suggests that prereceptor metabolism of glucocorticoids may have a direct impact on vascular physiology. Indeed there is evidence that 11HSDs influence glucocorticoid-mediated changes in vascular contractility, vascular structure, the inflammatory response to injury and the growth of new blood vessels. Hence, inhibition of 11HSD isozymes may provide a novel therapeutic target in vascular disease.

Key words.

11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inflammation vascular contractility angiogenesis cardiovascular disease