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Exploring The Interface Between Inflammatory And Therapeutic Glucocorticoid Induced Bone And Muscle Loss

Justine M. Webster, Chloe G. Fenton, Ramon Langen, Rowan S. Hardy

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Due to their potent immunomodulatory anti-inflammatory properties, synthetic glucocorticoids (GCs) are widely utilized in the treatment of chronic inflammatory disease. In this review, we examine our current understanding of how chronic inflammation and commonly used therapeutic GCs interact to regulate bone and muscle metabolism. Whilst both inflammation and therapeutic GCs directly promote systemic osteoporosis and muscle wasting, the mechanisms whereby they achieve this are distinct. Importantly, their interactions in vivo are greatly complicated secondary to the directly opposing actions of GCs on a wide array of pro-inflammatory signalling pathways that underpin catabolic and anti-anabolic metabolism. Several clinical studies have attempted to address the net effects of therapeutic glucocorticoids on inflammatory bone loss and muscle wasting using a range of approaches. These have yielded a wide array of results further complicated by the nature of inflammatory disease, underlying the disease management and regimen of GC therapy. Here, we report the latest findings related to these pathway interactions and explore the latest insights from murine models of disease aimed at modelling these processes and delineating the contribution of pre-receptor steroid metabolism. Understanding these processes remains paramount in the effective management of patients with chronic inflammatory disease.