alexa NK cells expressing a progesterone receptor are susceptible to progesterone-induced apoptosis.
Diabetes & Endocrinology

Diabetes & Endocrinology

Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science

Author(s): Arruvito L, Giulianelli S, Flores AC, Paladino N, Barboza M,

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Abstract It has been proposed that progesterone (P4) induces the suppression of immune responses, particularly during pregnancy. However, knowledge about the mechanisms involved has remained largely elusive. We demonstrate herein that peripheral blood NK (PBNK) cells express both classical progesterone receptor (PR) isoforms and are specifically affected by the actions of P4 through two apparently independent mechanisms. Progesterone induces caspase-dependent PBNK cell death, which is reversed by two different anti-progestins, ZK 98.299 and RU 486, supporting the involvement of classical PR isoforms. It was suggested that CD56(bright)CD16(-) killer Ig-like receptor (KIR)(-) NK cells might represent precursor cells, which, upon activation, acquire the features of a more mature NK subset expressing KIR receptors. The present study demonstrates that PR expression seems to be restricted to more mature KIR(+) PBNK cells. The expression of PR had a functional counterpart in the suppressive effect of P4 on IL-12-induced IFN-gamma secretion. This cytokine suppression was mainly observed in KIR(+) PBNK cells, without affecting the high secretion of IFN-gamma by CD56(bright) PBNK cells. The lack of PR expression on CD56(bright)KIR(-) PBNK cells provides an additional phenotypic marker to test the idea that they might represent the PBNK precursors selectively recruited into the endometrium where they differentiate to become the uterine NK cells. Additionally, these findings may be relevant to NK cell function in viral immunity, human reproduction, and tumor immunity.
This article was published in J Immunol and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science

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