The role of the glucocorticoid receptor and its impact on steroid response in moderate-severe COVID-19 patients

Gestina Aliska, Nafrialdi Nafrialdi, Khie Chen Lie, Rianto Setiabudy, Andani Eka Putra, Indah Suci Widyahening, Alida Roswita Harahap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of corticosteroid therapy in COVID-19 patients is mediated by its suppressive effect on the regulations of inflammatory response. However, its clinical outcome is often unpredictable. This study aimed to explore the role of glucocorticoid receptors in corticosteroid response in Moderate-Severe COVID-19 patients. In this cross-sectional study, we attempted to find the relationship between the expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (encoded by NR3C1), the variation of glucocorticoid receptors isoform, and the mutations of glucocorticoid receptors exon with clinical response to corticosteroids. In addition, the relationship between glucocorticoid receptors expression and the expression of IκBα (encoded by NFKBIA) and glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper protein (GILZ; encoded by TSC22D3) as steroid pathways was also evaluated. Thirty-four COVID-19 patients were studied. Blood was drawn before and on day 5 of corticosteroid treatment. Glucocorticoid receptors expression, isoform, and mutation were determined by RNA sequencing from white blood cells. Based on the improvement of clinical and oxygen status, patients were classified into responder and non-responder groups. Of thirty-four patients, 23 (67.6%) showed excellent responses to corticosteroids, and 11 (32.4%) were non-responders. The NR3C1 gene expression was significantly higher in the responsive group at baseline and after five days of glucocorticoid treatment. Isoform variant and mutation of glucocorticoid receptors did not correlate with clinical response. The expression of IκBα and GILZ correlated positively with glucocorticoid receptors expression. This study elucidates the relationship between glucocorticoid receptor expression with therapeutic responses to corticosteroids in moderate-severe COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175555
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023


  • Corticosteroids
  • COVID-19
  • GILZ
  • Glucocorticoid receptors
  • Isoform
  • IκBα
  • Mutation
  • NR3C1 gene


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