, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 23–34 | Cite as

Recent advances in the molecular mechanisms causing primary generalized glucocorticoid resistance

  • Nicolas C. NicolaidesEmail author
  • Agaristi Lamprokostopoulou
  • Amalia Sertedaki
  • Evangelia Charmandari


Primary Generalized Glucocorticoid Resistance is a rare condition characterized by generalized, partial, target tissue insensitivity to glucocorticoids owing to inactivating mutations, insertions or deletions in the human glucocorticoid receptor (hGR) gene (NR3C1). Recent advances in molecular and structural biology have enabled us to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of action of the mutant receptors and to understand how certain conformational alterations of the defective hGRs result in generalized glucocorticoid resistance. Furthermore, our ever-increasing understanding of the molecular mechanisms of glucocorticoid action indicates that the glucocorticoid signaling pathway is a stochastic system that plays a fundamental role in maintaining both basal and stress-related homeostasis. In this review, we summarize the clinical manifestations and molecular pathogenesis of Primary Generalized Glucocorticoid Resistance, we present our recent findings from the functional characterization of three novel heterozygous point mutations in the NR3C1 gene, and we discuss the diagnostic approach and therapeutic management of the condition. When the condition is suspected, we recommend sequencing analysis of the NR3C1 gene as well as of other genes encoding proteins involved in the glucocorticoid signal transduction. The tremendous progress of next-generation sequencing will undoubtedly uncover novel hGR partners or cofactors.

Key words

Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoid receptor Glucocorticoid resistance Glucocorticoid signaling NR3C1 mutations 


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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas C. Nicolaides
    • 1
    • 2
  • Agaristi Lamprokostopoulou
    • 2
  • Amalia Sertedaki
    • 1
  • Evangelia Charmandari
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, First Department of PediatricsUniversity of Athens Medical School, ‘Aghia Sophia’ Children’s HospitalAthensGreece
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Center of Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational ResearchBiomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of AthensAthensGreece

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