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Steroids. 2011 Sep-Oct;76(10-11):1204-12. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2011.05.013. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Testosterone response of hepatic gene expression in female mice having acquired testosterone-unresponsive immunity to Plasmodium chabaudi malaria.

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Division of Molecular Parasitology and Centre for Biological and Medical Research, Heinrich-Heine-University, Universitaetsstr. 1, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany.


Blood-stage malaria of Plasmodium chabaudi is characterized by its responsiveness to testosterone (T): T suppresses development of protective immunity, whereas once acquired immunity is T-unresponsive. Here, we have analyzed the liver, a T target and lymphoid organ with anti-malaria activity, for its T-responsiveness of gene expression in immune mice. Using Affymetrix microarray technology, in combination with quantitative RT-PCR, we have identified (i) T-unresponsive expression of newly acquired mRNAs encoding diverse sequences of IgG- and IgM-antibodies, (ii) 24 genes whose expression has become T-unresponsive including those encoding the T(H)2 response promoting EHMT2 and the erythrocyte membrane protein band 7.2 STOM, (iii) T-unresponsive expression of mRNAs for the cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα, and IFNγ, as well as iNOS, which are even not inducible by infection, and (iv) 35 genes retaining their T-responsiveness, which include those encoding the infection-inducible acute phase proteins SAA1, SAA2, and ORM2 as well as those of liver metabolism which encode the T-downregulated female-prevalent enzymes CYP2B9, CYP2B13, CYP3A41, CYP7A1, and SULT2A2 and the T-upregulated male-prevalent enzymes CYP2D9, CYP7B1, UGT2B1, HSD3B2, HSD3B5, respectively. The mRNA of the latter T-metabolizing enzyme is even 5-fold increased by T, suggesting a decrease in the effective T concentrations in the liver of immune mice. Collectively, our data suggest that the liver, which has acquired a selective T-unresponsiveness of gene expression, contributes to the acquired T-unresponsive, antibody-mediated protective immunity to blood-stage malaria of P. chabaudi.

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