Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2011 Feb;40(1):16-26. doi: 10.1007/s12016-009-8188-0.

The multi-faceted influences of estrogen on lymphocytes: toward novel immuno-interventions strategies for autoimmunity management.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Early studies of the immune system disclosed that, generally, females exhibit stronger responses to a variety of antigens than males. Perhaps as a result of this response, women are more prone to developing autoimmune diseases than men. Yet, the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms remain under investigation. Recently, interferon-gamma and the related pro-inflammatory interleukin-12 were found to be under effects of sex steroid hormones, with potential implications in regulating immune cells and autoimmune responses. In B lymphocytes, functional binding sites for estrogen receptors were identified in the promoter of the gene encoding activation-induced deaminase, an enzyme required for somatic hypermutation, and class-switch recombination. The observation that estrogen exerts direct impacts on antibody affinity-maturation provides a potential mechanism that could account for generating pathogenic high-affinity auto-antibodies. Further deciphering the multi-faceted influences of sex hormones on the responsiveness of immune cells could lead to novel therapeutic interventions for autoimmunity management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center