Progesterone inhibits glucocorticoid-induced murine thymocyte apoptosis.


Journal Article

Sex and sex hormones modulate immune development and responses. A primary target of their effects is the structure and cellularity of the thymus; therefore, we examined the effects of sex and sex steroids on thymocyte apoptosis. We demonstrate initially that male DBA mice have a significantly higher percentage of glucocorticoid-induced apoptotic thymocytes (46.1+/-3.8%) than their female counterparts (31.6+/-3.1%; P=0.012). We postulated that this gender difference was due to differential modulation of glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis by sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone or progesterone. Both estrogen and testosterone increased in vitro thymocyte apoptosis. In contrast, progesterone not only inhibited spontaneous in vitro thymocyte apoptosis, but also prevented in vitro glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis. Progesterone administration also suppressed glucocorticoid-induced in vivo thymocyte apoptosis. These results suggest that anti-apoptotic effects of progesterone may influence T cell development and subsequent immune responses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McMurray, RW; Wilson, JG; Bigler, L; Xiang, L; Lagoo, A

Published Date

  • November 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 955 - 965

PubMed ID

  • 11090704

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11090704

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0192-0561

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0192-0561(00)00059-x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England