A greater knowledge of IL-5 regulation within human endometrium is important in understanding key reproductive events and uterine Natural Killer cell function. In the present study, expression of IL-15 mRNA was shown to be up-regulated by both PGE(2) and IFN-gamma in cultures of human endometrial stromal cells (ESC). Release of IL-15 protein was also shown to be under the control of PGE(2) and IFN-gamma using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for IL-15. In addition, 8-Bromo cAMP was able to increase IL-15 release from ESCs (P < 0.005) implying the actions of PGE(2) may be via this second messenger. Addition of a progestin appeared to enhance these effects. Real-time quantitative PCR has demonstrated an up-regulation in IL-15 mRNA expression in the late secretory phase of the menstrual cycle (P < 0.005) and a progressive rise in IFN-gamma expression throughout the secretory phase and into first trimester decidua. These results suggest that IL-15 regulation in the human endometrium is complex and that hormonal control may be indirect.