Glucocorticoids (GCs) are steroid hormones that exert important physiological actions on metabolism. Given that GCs also exert potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, synthetic GCs such as prednisolone and dexamethasone were developed for the treatment of autoimmune- and inflammatory-related diseases. The synthetic GCs are undoubtedly efficient in terms of their therapeutic effects, but are accompanied by significant adverse effects on metabolism, specifically glucose metabolism. Glucose intolerance and reductions in insulin sensitivity are among the major concerns related to GC metabolic side effects, which may ultimately progress to type 2 diabetes mellitus
. A number of pre-clinical and clinical studies have aimed to understand the repercussions of GCs on glucose metabolism and the possible mechanisms of GC action. This review intends to summarize the main alterations that occur in liver, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, and pancreatic islets in the context of GC-induced glucose intolerance. For this, both experimental (animals) and clinical studies were selected and, whenever possible, the main cellular mechanisms involved in such GC-side effects were discussed.
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