There is a significant fluctuation in clinical symptoms of asthmatic females during their life course, suggesting that the reproductive status and the level of sex hormones may affect the development of asthma and its exacerbation. In this study, we aimed to assess the biological effects of 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4), alone or in combination form, on the transcription factors and production of cytokines in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). PBMCs of the mild-to-moderate asthmatic patients and healthy controls (HCs) were treated with equivalent serum levels of E2 or P4 maintained during hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The expression levels of T-bet, GATA-3, RORγt, PU.1, and Foxp3 were assessed by quantitative PCR. We also measured the concentration of IL-4, IL-9, IL-10, IFN-γ, and TGF-β in cell culture supernatants using ELISA. IL-4 production and GATA-3 expression levels slightly increased when asthmatic PBMCs were treated with E2 (p < 0.01), P4 (p < 0.01), or E2 + P4 (p < 0.001) compared to the untreated cells. IL-9 secretion (p < 0.001) and PU.1 gene expression levels (p < 0.05) were slightly higher in asthmatic patients' PBMCs before treatment but hormone therapy did not affect the level of them. Although the untreated asthmatic PBMCs produced a lower amount of IFN-γ compared to HCs (p < 0.01), hormone treatment did not affect the levels of IFN-γ secretion in patient groups. Moreover, we did not observe any significant changes in IL-10 and TGF-β secretion in the supernatant of hormone treated cells. We found that the common applied HRT may faintly increase GATA-3 expression and IL-4 production levels in PBMCs of asthmatic patients and can slightly increase asthma severity.

References

PubMed