Oestrogen induced suppression of collagen arthritis. IV: Progesterone alone does not affect the course of arthritis but enhances the oestrogen-mediated therapeutic effect

J Reprod Immunol. 1989 May;15(2):141-50. doi: 10.1016/0165-0378(89)90033-8.


The effects of 17 beta-oestradiol and progesterone on the development of type II collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and the anti-type II collagen (CII) autoantibody response were investigated. Treatment with physiological doses of 17 beta-oestradiol, inducing serum levels below the estradiol peak at the end of pregnancy, abrogated the development of arthritis and suppressed the anti-CII autoantibody response. Treatment with progesterone alone did not have significant effects on the development of arthritis or on the anti-CII autoantibody response. However, a combined treatment with both progesterone and oestrogen in physiological doses induced a more pronounced suppression of CIA than the suppression induced with oestrogen treatment alone. These findings suggest that oestrogen, but not progesterone, may be the critical factor to explain the pregnancy-related down-regulation of CIA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis / chemically induced
  • Arthritis / drug therapy
  • Arthritis / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Collagen / toxicity
  • Disease Models, Animal / immunology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Estradiol / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Collagen