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Keywords:

  • Antimicrobial;
  • chemokine;
  • estradiol;
  • estrous cycle;
  • selective estrogen receptor modulators;
  • uterus;
  • vagina

Problem

Estradiol regulates chemokine secretion from uterine epithelial cells, but little is known about estradiol regulation in vivo or the role of estrogen receptors (ERs).

Method

CCL20 and CXCL1 present in reproductive washes following treatment with selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) were compared with that during estrous and following estradiol-treated ovariectomized BALB/c mice. Cellular regulation was determined using isolated vaginal and uterine epithelial/stromal cells in vitro.

Results

Uterine and vaginal chemokine secretion is cyclically regulated with CCL20 at low levels but CXCL1 at high levels during high estradiol, generally mimicking estradiol effect in vivo. ERα but not ERβ regulated CCL20/CXCL1 secretion by uterine epithelial cells in vitro and vaginal CCL20 in vivo. Estradiol/SERMs failed to alter uterine CCL20 secretion in ovariectomized mice. Diminished uterine epithelial ERα staining following ovariectomy corresponded with estradiol unresponsiveness of uterine tissue.

Conclusion

Estrogen receptors α regulates CCL20/CXCL1 secretion in the female reproductive tract, and ERα antagonists directly oppose the regulation by estradiol. Understanding ER-mediated antimicrobial chemokine expression is important to elucidate cyclic susceptibility to sexually transmitted pathogens.