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