Sex hormone levels correlate with the activity of cytokine-secreting cells in vivo
Article first published online: 25 DEC 2001
Volume 100, Issue 3, pages 384–390, July 2000
How to Cite
Verthelyi, D. and Klinman, D. M. (2000), Sex hormone levels correlate with the activity of cytokine-secreting cells in vivo. Immunology, 100: 384–390. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.2000.00047.x
- Issue published online: 25 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 25 DEC 2001
- Received 24 August 1999; revised 14 February 2000; accepted 21 February 2000.
This work examines the correlation between serum levels of oestrogen, progesterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) and the number of human peripheral blood cells actively secreting interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) or interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in vivo. Simultaneous assessment of serum hormone levels and cytokine-secreting cell activity throughout the menstrual cycle showed that the number of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) able to secrete IL-4 in response to stimulation correlated significantly (P < 0·0001) with oestrogen levels and fluctuated with the menstrual cycle in pre-menopausal women. The activity of IFN-γ-secreting cells, on the other hand, varied as a function of serum DHEA-S levels in pre-menopausal women (P < 0·0001). Similarly, the number of cells secreting IFN-γ in men correlated with serum DHEA-S levels (P < 0·001). In contrast, post-menopausal women had fewer cells actively secreting cytokines and the activity of these cells did not correlate with sex hormone levels. These results suggest that sex hormones may modulate cytokine production in vivo and contribute to gender-related differences in normal and pathological immune responses.