Naturally produced steroids don’t inhibit immune system

February 5th, 2008 - 1:35 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Feb 5 (ANI): A new study conducted by researchers at the Michigan State University has found that naturally produced steroids don’t inhibit the immune system.

While corticosteroids, such as prednisone, reduce inflammation they also slow down the body’s immune system and a person taking prescription steroids is more susceptible to infection.

Now, the researchers found that corticosteroids produced naturally in the body don’t have this same immunosuppressive effect.

When the human body is under stress both psychological and physical, it secretes corticosteroids and these steroids are responsible for the fight-or-flight response in humans and other animals.

Cortisol, also called hydrocortisone, is the most abundant corticosteroid in the body. These steroids’ anti-inflammatory effects are well known and pharmaceutical companies have been making versions of them for about 20 years.

However, people taking steroids are warned that cuts and bruises might be slow to heal because of steroids’ effects on the immune system.

In the study, the researchers found that the naturally produced versions of the steroids don’t affect the immune system like the pharmacological versions.

“With the pharmacological versions of steroids, you lose some immune function. With the natural versions, you retain neutrophil [a type of white blood cell] function. It may be worthwhile for pharmaceutical companies to investigate synthesizing natural versions of the steroids,” said Pamela Fraker, MSU professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and lead author.

The study is reported in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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