Original Article

Archives of Virology

, Volume 158, Issue 8, pp 1755-1764

Progesterone suppresses interferon signaling by repressing TLR-7 and MxA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients infected with hepatitis C virus

  • Sara S. TayelAffiliated withThe Molecular Pathology Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, German University in Cairo
  • , Amal A. HelmyAffiliated withDepartment of Endemic Medicine and Hepatology, Cairo University
  • , Rasha AhmedAffiliated withDepartment of Endemic Medicine and Hepatology, Cairo University
  • , Gamal EsmatAffiliated withDepartment of Endemic Medicine and Hepatology, Cairo University
  • , Nabila HamdiAffiliated withThe Molecular Pathology Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, German University in Cairo
  • , Ahmed Ihab AbdelazizAffiliated withThe Molecular Pathology Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, German University in Cairo Email author 

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Abstract

This study aimed at investigating the effect of progesterone on interferon signaling pathways in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). PBMCs were isolated from peripheral blood of 38 treatment-naïve HCV-infected patients, pooled, and stimulated with progesterone in the presence and absence of its receptor antagonist, mifepristone, along with interferon alpha (IFN-α) or imiquimod. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) were quantified in PBMCs using RT-qPCR. Imiquimod alone or combined with progesterone did not change MxA expression in HCV-infected PBMCs. Progesterone decreased the inducing effect of IFN-α on TLR-7 expression in both males and females. Moreover, progesterone stimulation prior to IFN-α treatment attenuated the Jak/STAT pathway, which was reflected by decreased expression of MxA in females. Progesterone showed a negative impact on the IFN signaling pathway in HCV-infected PBMCs as it decreased the expression of TLR-7 in both genders, while MxA expression was decreased only in females.