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Progesterone may be why pregnant women are more vulnerable to certain infections
Date:2/28/2013

ightly less, antibody production compared to controls. On the other hand, knockout T cells stimulated in the test tube showed a conspicuous over-production of interferon-gamma, an inflammatory molecule involved in fighting off pregnancy-associated pathogens and in shaping protective antibody responses. Adding progesterone to the test tube blocked interferon-gamma in normal T cells, but not in PR knockout T cells. This suggests that progesterone suppresses interferon gamma in T cells through their PR. To sort out which aspects of the abnormal antibody responses in PR knockout mice were due to T cells, researchers immunized two groups of normal mice, one transplanted with responder T cells from PR knockout donors, the other with responder T cells from normal donors. Just like in PR knockout mice, normal mice transplanted with PR knockout responder T cells showed much higher antibody levels than normal mice.

"Pregnancy and hormones have long been known to influence immune responses, but these processes have been poorly understood, said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "This new work is significant for two reasons. First, the identification of progesterone receptors as a mechanism of immune modulation during pregnancy sheds light on the pregnancy-immune phenomenon, and second, these studies define a potentially new target to modulate autoimmunity and immune-mediated problems during pregnancy."


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Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
cmooneyhan@faseb.org
301-634-7104
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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