Network of nuclear receptor ligands in multiple sclerosis: Common pathways and interactions of sex-steroids, corticosteroids and vitamin D-3-derived molecules

Linda Rolf, Jan Damoiseaux, Raymond Hupperts, Inge Huitinga, Joost Smolders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)


Sex-steroids, corticosteroids and vitamin D-3-derived molecules have all been subject to experimental studies and clinical trials in a plethora of autoimmune diseases. These molecules are all derived from cholesterol metabolites and are ligands for nuclear receptors. Ligation of these receptors results in direct regulation of multiple gene transcription involved in general homeostatic and adaptation networks, including the immune system. Indeed, the distinct ligands affect the function of both myeloid and lymphoid cells, eventually resulting in a less pro inflammatory immune response which is considered beneficial in autoimmune diseases. Next to the immune system, also the central nervous system is prone to regulation by these nuclear receptor ligands. Understanding of the intricate interactions between sex-steroids, corticosteroids and vitamin D-3 metabolites, on the one hand, and the immune and central nervous system, on the other hand, may reveal novel approaches to utilize these nuclear receptor ligands to full extent as putative treatments in multiple sclerosis, the prototypic immune driven disease of the central nervous system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-910
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Nuclear receptor ligands
  • Sex-steroids
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  • Corticosteroids
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Vitamin D
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • T cells
  • 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D
  • Cortisol

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