Dr. Weeks’ Comment:
HERE IS A REVIEW ARTICLE OF FEMALE MENSTRUAL CYCLE AND IMMUNITY. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE REVIEWERS CLEARLY SAY THAT PROGESTERONE IS DECREASING CELLULAR IMMUNITY AND INCREASES T CELLS, WHICH BOTH REDUCE THE IMMUNITY. THESE HORMONES ARE POTENT INSTRUMENTS AND NEED TO BE HANDLED WITH CARE.
Effect of menstrual cycle variation in female sex hormones on cellular immunity and regulation.
Department of Pediatrics, The University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Adriana.Weinberg@ucdenver.edu
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 20-24 days 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.