Progesterone and estradiol modulate interleukin-1β messenger ribonucleic acid levels in cultured human peripheral monocytes

Mary Lake Polan, Jill Loukides, Pamlea Nelson, Simon Carding, Michael Diamond, Ann Walsh, Kim Bottomly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


The relationship between the endocrine system and immune monokines, such as interleukin-1 (IL-1), is of increasing interest. IL-1, a protein secreted by peripheral monocytes and tissue macrophages, mediates a wide variety of immune responses, and its production appears to be inversely related to the level of gonadal steroids. In this report, we have investigated the relationship between estradiol and progesterone concentrations and the level of IL-1β mRNA in cultured human peripheral monocytes and pelvic macrophages.Human peripheral monocytes, isolated during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, were activated with lipopolysaccharide (10 μg/mL). Cellular RNA was isolated and analyzed by Northern analysis using an 800-basepair IL-1β cDNA probe. Hybridization with 32P-labeled probe showed maximal levels of IL-β mRNA occurring between 3 and 7 h of culture. Cultures of lipopolysaccharide-activated human peripheral monocytes incubated for 3—6 h with increasing amounts of progesterone or estradiol (0—10−5 M) in the presence of either 5% fetal calf serum or 0.1% BSA demonstrated an inverse relationship between IL-β mRNA levels and steroid concentration. In both cases, IL-β mRNA levels decreased by 80—90% as the progesterone concentration increased to 10−6 M and by 70—90% as the estradiol concentration increased similarly. A similar 80% decrease in IL-β mRNA was observed with peritoneal macrophages incubated with increasing amounts of progesterone. This reciprocal relationship between IL-β mRNA and gonadal steroids may have important ramifications in reproductive biology for both embryonic implantation and fetal survival as well as for clinically relevant changes in bone mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1206
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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