In this study we compared the concentrations of IL-4, IL-13, and IFN-gamma, which were produced by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in the presence or absence of preincubation with beta-estradiol or progesterone both after a specific antigen challenge and without a specific antigen challenge. The concentrations of IL-4 and IL-13 from PBMC which had been preincubated with progesterone or gamma-estradiol for 18-24 h were significantly greater than those of IL-4 and IL-13 from PBMC which had been preincubated with PBS, the control. On the other hand, the concentration of IFN-gamma from PBMC was unchanged. We were able to confirm that the female hormones beta-estradiol and progesterone, at levels similar to those occurring during pregnancy, have the ability to induce production of IL-4 and IL-13 in human mononuclear cells. These results suggest that female hormones may aggravate nasal allergy symptoms during pregnancy by increasing IgE synthesis and inducing selective eosinophil infiltration.