steroid ster·oid (stěr'oid', stēr'-)
Any of numerous naturally occurring or synthetic fat-soluble organic compounds having as a basis 17 carbon atoms arranged in four rings and including the sterols and bile acids, adrenocortical and sex hormones, certain natural drugs such as digitalis compounds, and the precursors of certain vitamins. Also called steroid hormone . adj. ste·roid·al (stĭ-roid', stě-)
Relating to or characteristic of steroids or steroid hormones.
Recent studies have discovered a pathway that links stress to the onset of disease through the activation of certain genes.  The experience of psychological stress activates transcription factors that activate genes. In a study by Cole et al., it was concluded that GABA -1 transcription factor activates the interleukin -6-gene. This gene codes for a protein that activates the inflammatory response which directs an immune response to the site of the inflammation.  Chronic inflammation makes an individual more susceptible to diseases such as cancer , heart disease , and diabetes .
Kaposi's sarcoma has been reported to occur in patients receiving corticosteroid
therapy. Discontinuation of corticosteroids may result in clinical remission.
Although controlled clinical trials have shown corticosteroids to be effective in speeding the resolution of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis , they do not show that corticosteroids affect the ultimate outcome or natural history of the disease. The studies do show that relatively high doses of corticosteroids are necessary to demonstrate a significant effect. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION .)