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Effects of Menstrual Cycle Status and Gender on Human Neutrophil Phenotype


Li Shen, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth Medical School, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756.



The effects of gender and fluctuating ovarian hormones on neutrophil phenotype have yet to be characterized.

Method of study

Neutrophils from females at days 7, 14, 21, and 28 of the menstrual cycle were analyzed by flow cytometry for surface receptor, granule protein, and intracellular cytokine expression. Comparisons were made to neutrophils from males isolated at 7-day intervals during 1 month.


Decreased MMP-9 and TNF-α expression by neutrophils from females was observed during the periovulatory period. Comparing the genders, cells from females during the periovulatory period expressed less CD11b and CD18 than those from males. CXCR1 surface levels were higher on neutrophils from female donors.


Neutrophil phenotype varies minimally during the menstrual cycle and between the genders. Our data provide support for a potential anti-inflammatory effect of ovarian hormones on neutrophils.