Estrogen inhibits dendritic cell maturation to RNA viruses

Maria M. Escribese, Thomas Kraus, Esther Rhee, Ana Fernandez-Sesma, Carolina B. López, Thomas M. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in initiating and polarizing the immune response. Therefore, DC maturation represents a key control point in the shift from innate to adaptive immunity. It is suspected that during pregnancy, hormones are critical factors that modulate changes reported to occur in maternal immunity. Here we examined the effect of 17-β-estradiol (E2) on the maturational response triggered by virus in human DCs and its influence on their ability to activate naive T cells. We developed an in vitro system to measure the response of DCs to virus infection with Newcastle disease virus (NDV) after a 24-hour E2 treatment. Using this system, we demonstrated that E2 pretreatment down-regulated the antiviral response to RNA viruses in DCs by profoundly suppressing type I interferon (IFN) synthesis and other important inflammatory products. In addition, the DCs capacity to stimulate naive CD4 T cells was also reduced. These results suggest an important role for E2 in suppressing the antiviral response and provide a mechanism for the reduced immunity to virus infection observed during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4574-4584
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


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