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Glucocorticoids prescribed to limit inflammation, have significant adverse effects. As 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) regenerates active glucocorticoid, we investigated whether 11β-HSD1 inhibition with AZD4017 could mitigate adverse glucocorticoid effects without compromising their anti-inflammatory actions. We conducted a proof-of-concept, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study at Research Unit, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK (NCT03111810). 32 healthy male volunteers were randomized to AZD4017 or placebo, alongside prednisolone treatment. Although the primary endpoint of the study (change in glucose disposal during a two-step hyperinsulinemic, normoglycemic clamp) wasn't met, hepatic insulin sensitivity worsened in the placebo-treated but not in the AZD4017-treated group. Protective effects of AZD4017 on markers of lipid metabolism and bone turnover were observed. Night-time blood pressure was higher in the placebo-treated but not in the AZD4017-treated group. Urinary (5aTHF+THF)/THE ratio was lower in the AZD4017-treated but remained the same in the placebo-treated group. Most anti-inflammatory actions of prednisolone persisted with AZD4017 co-treatment. Four adverse events were reported with AZD4017 and no serious adverse events. Here we show that co-administration of AZD4017 with prednisolone in men is a potential strategy to limit adverse glucocorticoid effects.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date