Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 161
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825412

In vitro autoregulation of glucocorticoid receptors is dependent on the medium and serum batch used

K Krieger 1, A Klimke 1, U Henning 1
  • 1Neurobiochemical Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf

Numerous studies investigated the autoregulation of glucocorticoid receptors (GCR) of lymphocytes as a state or trait dependent feature of psychiatric disorders (1). Ex vivo investigations demonstrated an irreversible downregulation of glucocorticoid receptors after chronic incubation with glucocorticoids (2).

To investigate the influence of foetal calf serum (FCS) supplemented cell-culture media on GCRs autoregulation, B-lymphoblastoids were cultured from days to month with different hydrocortisone concentrations in RPMI 1640, AIM V and Opti-MEM media supplemented with different FCS batches. The amount of GCRs was calculated after the performance of radioactive binding studies.

Our experiments showed that GCR autoregulation is strongly dependent on the incubation medium used. The long-term downregulation of GCRs after glucocorticoid incubation was only reversible in Opti-MEM without FCS. We demonstrate a great impact of medium and FCS on GCR number and downregulation, therefore our results have to be kept in mind to avoid an overinterpretation of in vitro experiments.

(1) Pariante, C.M. and Miller, A.H. Biol Psychiatry 49(5) (2001) 391–404;

(2) Silva, C.M. et al. Steroids 59(7) (1994) 436–42