Author(s): Weinberg A, Enomoto L, Marcus R, Canniff J
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Abstract Ovarian steroid hormones reduce cell-mediated immunity (CMI), perhaps by increasing regulatory T cells. We examined the relationship of estrogen and progesterone plasma concentrations during the menstrual cycle with circulating regulatory T cells (Treg cells) and with varicella-zoster virus (VZV)-specific lymphocyte proliferation (VZV-LPA). Twenty healthy and 20 HIV-infected women were tested at 1-4, 10-14, and 20-24days of the menstrual cycle. HIV-infected women experienced significant increases in the frequency of peripheral blood CD4+IL10+ and CD8+FoxP3+ Treg cells from the early and late follicular phases to the luteal phase of their cycles. Healthy women experienced significant increases only in CD4+IL10+ Treg cells. The increase in CD4+IL10+ Treg cells between the late follicular and the luteal phases of HIV-infected and uninfected women significantly correlated with the corresponding increases in progesterone plasma concentrations. VZV-LPA results decreased from the early and late follicular phases to the luteal phase in both groups. The decrease in VZV-LPA results significantly correlated with the increase in CD4+IL10+ Treg cells underscoring the potential immunosuppressive effect of the progesterone-stimulated Treg cells. In conclusion, the increase in progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle was associated with higher Treg frequencies and lower CMI. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Reprod Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy