Journal of NeuroVirology

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 513–528 | Cite as

Glucocorticoids and central nervous system inflammation

  • Klaus Dinkel
  • William O. Ogle
  • Robert M. Sapolsky


Glucocorticoids (GCs) are well known for their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties in the periphery and are therefore widely and successfully used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, or transplant rejection. This led to the assumption that GCs are uniformly anti-inflammatory in the periphery and the central nervous system (CNS). As a consequence, GCs are also used in the treatment of CNS inflammation. There is abundant evidence that an inflammatory reaction is mounted within the CNS following trauma, stroke, infection, and seizure, which can augment the brain damage. However an increasing number of studies indicate that the concept of GCs being universally immunosuppressive might be oversimplified. This article provides a review of the current literature, showing that under certain circumstances GCs might fail to have anti-inflammatory effects and sometimes even enhance inflammation.


CNS inflammation corticosteroids immunosuppression neuroimmunology 


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Copyright information

© Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Dinkel
    • 1
  • William O. Ogle
    • 1
  • Robert M. Sapolsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Gilbert HallStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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