Progesterone favors the development of human T helper cells producing Th2-type cytokines and promotes both IL-4 production and membrane CD30 expression in established Th1 cell clones

J Immunol. 1995 Jul 1;155(1):128-33.


The effect of progesterone (P) on the cytokine production profile of Ag-specific human CD4+ T cell lines and clones was investigated. T cell lines specific for purified protein derivative or streptokinase (SK) derived in the presence of P exhibited significant increased ability to produce IL-5 in comparison with T cell lines derived in the absence of P. Moreover, IL-4 was significantly increased in SK-specific T cell lines derived in the presence of P in comparison with SK-specific T cell lines derived in the absence of this hormone. In addition, SK-specific T cell lines generated in the presence of P developed into T cell clones showing a Th0-, instead of Th1-like, cytokine profile. Furthermore, SK-specific T cell clones with an established Th1 profile of cytokine secretion did express mRNA for, and produced detectable amounts of, IL-4 when stimulated with P in combination with insoluble anti-CD3 mAb. Combined stimulation with P and insoluble anti-CD3 mAb also enabled Th1 clones to express CD30 on their surface membrane. These results indicate that P can favor the development of Th cells producing Th2-type cytokines and is an inducer of both transient IL-4 production and CD30 expression in established Th1 cells. Thus, P production at the placental level may be responsible, at least in part, for increased production of Th2-type cytokines which have been implied in fetal allograft survival and maintenance of successful pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / biosynthesis
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Clone Cells
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / chemistry
  • Epitopes / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-5 / biosynthesis
  • Ki-1 Antigen / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Streptokinase / pharmacology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / chemistry
  • Tuberculin / pharmacology


  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD4 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Epitopes
  • Interleukin-5
  • Ki-1 Antigen
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tuberculin
  • Interleukin-4
  • Progesterone
  • Streptokinase