Glucocorticoid regulation of GM-CSF: Evidence for transcriptional mechanisms in airway epithelial cells

Karissa K. Adkins, Tricia D. Levan, Roger L. Miesfeld, John W. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Inflammation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of asthma. Glucocorticoids are first-line anti-inflammatory therapy in the treatment of asthma and are effective inhibitors of inflammatory cytokines. Clinical data demonstrate that granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) production by airway epithelial cells may be an important target of inhaled glucocorticoid therapy. We examined the regulatory mechanisms of GM-CSF expression by interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone in the BEAS-2B human bronchial epithelial cell line. IL-1β stimulation resulted in a 15-fold induction of GM-CSF protein, which was associated with a corresponding 47-fold maximal induction of GM-CSF mRNA levels. Treatment with the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D before IL- 1β stimulation completely abolished induction of GM-CSF mRNA, whereas incubation with cycloheximide had no effect. Taken together, these data demonstrate that IL-1β induction of GM-CSF is mediated through transcriptional mechanisms. Dexamethasone treatment of BEAS-2B cells produced an 80% inhibition of IL-1β-induced GM-CSF protein and a 51% inhibition of GM-CSF mRNA. GM-CSF mRNA was rapidly degraded in these cells, and dexamethasone treatment did not significantly affect this decay rate. We conclude that, in the BEAS-2B bronchial epithelial cell line, IL-1β induction and dexamethasone repression of GM-CSF expression are mediated predominantly through transcriptional mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L372-L378
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 19-2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Asthma
  • Bronchial epithelium
  • Dexamethasone
  • Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor
  • Interleukin-1β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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