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J Immunol. 1999 Jan 1;162(1):35-40.

Androgens alter the cytokine profile and reduce encephalitogenicity of myelin-reactive T cells.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, USA. Bebob@OHSU.EDU


Adoptive transfer of proteolipid protein 139-151-specific T cell lines was used to examine the role of androgens in regulating T cell cytokine secretion and the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in the SJL mouse. In this study, we found that T cells from female mice transferred more severe EAE than T cells from male mice and that gender differences in clinical disease were due, at least in part, to differences in donor T cell cytokine secretion. T cell lines were selected from proteolipid protein 139-151-immunized female SJL mice in the presence or absence of exogenous androgens. Androgen-selected T cell lines secreted less IFN-gamma and more IL-10 than untreated cell lines. Clinical disease induced by the adoptive transfer of androgen-selected T cell lines was less severe than disease induced with untreated T cell lines. Furthermore, androgen treatment of naive TCR transgenic T cells, during their first encounter with Ag, resulted in a shift in the balance of Th1/Th2 cytokines. This phenotype was maintained during subsequent stimulations in the absence of androgen. These results suggest that androgen present in the lymphoid microenvironment during the induction of an immune response can alter the development of effector T cells and may play an important role in governing gender differences in the immune response and susceptibility to autoimmune disorders.

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