Estradiol impairs the Th17 immune response against Candida albicans

J Leukoc Biol. 2012 Jan;91(1):159-65. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1110645. Epub 2011 Sep 30.


Candida albicans is a commensal opportunistic pathogen that is also a member of gastrointestinal and reproductive tract microbiota. Exogenous factors, such as oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and estradiol, may affect susceptibility to Candida infection, although the mechanisms involved in this process have not been elucidated. We used a systemic candidiasis model to investigate how estradiol confers susceptibility to infection. We report that estradiol increases mouse susceptibility to systemic candidiasis, as in vivo and ex vivo estradiol-treated DCs were less efficient at up-regulating antigen-presenting machinery, pathogen killing, migration, IL-23 production, and triggering of the Th17 immune response. Based on these results, we propose that estradiol impairs DC function, thus explaining the increased susceptibility to infection during estrus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / drug effects
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Candida albicans / immunology*
  • Candidiasis / immunology*
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / microbiology
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Estrous Cycle / immunology*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovariectomy / methods
  • Th17 Cells / drug effects
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*


  • Estradiol