Endogenous glucocorticoids control neutrophil mobilization from bone marrow to blood and tissues in non-inflammatory conditions


Department of Clinical and Toxicological Analyses, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av Prof Lineu Prestes 580 Bl 13 B, São Paulo, SP 05508-900, Brazil. E-mail: sfarsky@usp.br


Background and purpose:

We have shown that endogenous glucocorticoids control neutrophil mobilization in the absence of inflammation. In this study the role of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in the physiological control of neutrophil mobilization was investigated, focusing on the specific mechanisms for mature neutrophils in bone marrow, circulating neutrophils and endothelial cells.

Experimental approach:

Male Wistar rats were treated with RU 38486 or adrenalectomized. Cell numbers in bone marrow and circulation were morphologically quantified and expressions of L-selectin determined by flow cytometry. Expressions of P-selectin, E-selectin, PECAM-1, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 were measured by immunohistochemistry on vessels of cremaster muscle and their mRNA levels quantified in primary cultured endothelial cells. NF-κB activity in neutrophils and endothelium was quantified by EMSA.

Key results:

RU 38486 treatment altered the maturation phases of neutrophilic lineage and reduced expression of L-selectin in mature neutrophils from bone marrow; increased the number of neutrophils in the circulation and elevated the expression of L-selectin in these cells. P-selectin and E-selectin expression in endothelial cells was unchanged by adrenalectomy or RU 38486 treatment. Membrane expressions, mRNA levels of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and PECAM-1 and NF-κB translocation into the nucleus were higher in the endothelium of adrenalectomized and RU 38486 treated rats.

Conclusions and implications:

Endogenous glucocorticoids, through activation of GR on neutrophils, physiologically control the rolling behaviour of these cells and, by modulating endothelial functions, affect their adhesiveness. The molecular mechanism induced by activated GR is different in each cell, as NF-κB translocation was only altered in endothelial cells.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2007) 152, 1291–1300; doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707512; published online 5 November 2007