Dual effect of glucocorticoids on apoptosis of human autoreactive and foreign antigen-specific T cells


  • F. Zipp
  • U. Wendling
  • M. Beyer
  • U. Grieger
  • S. Waiczies
  • B. Wagenknecht
  • J. Haas
  • M. Weller


  • Journal of Neuroimmunology


  • J Neuroimmunol 110 (1-2): 214-222


  • The efficacy of glucocorticoids in the treatment of multiple sclerosis may involve the induction of T cell apoptosis. Here, we report that glucocorticoids have two different effects on the vulnerability of human antigen-specific T cells: (i) steroids induce T cell apoptosis in a CD95-independent, but caspase-dependent manner; (ii) steroids protect T cells from CD95-mediated apoptosis which, however, is also caspase-dependent. An increase in BCL-2 expression is observed upon incubation with steroids. Thus, inhibition of CD95-mediated T cell apoptosis may be an undesirable side-effect resulting in survival of activated T cells and the maintenance of pathogenic immune responses might explain the lack of long-term glucocorticoid therapy.