Glucocorticoid steroids can overpower other steroid receptors in the body which normally help to regulate the amount of body fat we put on.
Researchers found that androgen receptors in the body help to inhibit the accumulation of body fat, therefore helping to keep us from depositing excess body fat. Glucocorticoid receptors, however, regulate how the androgen receptor behaves and high levels of glucocorticoid steroids can increase the amount of fat deposited, including the deposition of visceral fat, which has been identified as a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Lead researcher, Dr. Michael Mancini said, “This has implications in this era of an obesity epidemic”. Furthermore, by affecting the activity of androgen receptors, which help to regulate and maintain muscle mass, high levels of glucocorticoid steroids could also lead to decreases in muscle mass.
Glucocorticoid steroids have anti-inflammatory properties and are used to treat conditions from asthma and hay fever to lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The research helps to further understand how steroids affect the body and why they can lead to increased body fat and overall weight gain, loss of muscle mass and type 2 diabetes.
The report titled ‘Feed-Forward Inhibition of Androgen Receptor Activity by Glucocorticoid Action in Human Adipocytes’ was carried out by the Baylor College of Medicine and published in the Chemistry and Biology journal.

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