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Exp Gerontol. 2001 Feb;36(2):311-26.

Immune effects of hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women.

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Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1732, USA.


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) confers many health benefits to post-menopausal women. Despite links between estrogen and immune function prior to menopause, the immune status of women receiving HRT has not been rigorously investigated. This case-control study uses clinical laboratory assessment, flow cytometry, and functional assays to measure immune function. Participants included 27 post-menopausal women taking estrogen/progestin combinations, and 22 post-menopausal women not receiving HRT. Compared to the (-)HRT group, the (+)HRT group had more B-cells (p<0.05), higher mitogen-induced T-cell proliferation (p<0.05), and higher levels of induced TNF-alpha (p<0.05). There was a trend towards a lower proportion of CD4+ T-cells expressing the activation marker CD25+ (p<0.10). These findings represent a reversal of immune alterations associated with normal aging, suggesting that preservation or improvement of immune function may be associated with the use of HRT.

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