The influence of unopposed estrogen replacement/isolated progesterone deficiency on macrophage production of pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory mediators in the post-reproductive age was studied.
Considering that in the rats post-ovariectomy the circulating estradiol, but not progesterone level rises to the values in sham-operated controls, 20-month-old rats ovariectomized at the age of 10 months served as an experimental model. Estrogen and progesterone receptor expression, secretion of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and arginine metabolism end-products were examined in splenic and peritoneal macrophages under basal conditions and following lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation in vitro.
Almost all peritoneal and a subset of splenic macrophages expressed the intracellular progesterone receptor. Ovariectomy diminished cytokine production by splenic (IL-1β) and peritoneal (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-10) macrophages and increased the production of IL-10 by splenic and TGF-β by peritoneal cells under basal conditions. Following LPS stimulation, splenic macrophages from ovariectomized rats produced less TNF-α and more IL-10, whereas peritoneal macrophages produced less IL-1β and TGF-β than the corresponding cells from sham-operated rats. Ovariectomy diminished urea production in both subpopulations of LPS-stimulated macrophages.
Although long-lasting isolated progesterone deficiency in the post-reproductive age differentially affects cytokine production in the macrophages from distinct tissue compartments, in both subpopulations, it impairs the pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory cytokine secretory balance.