The Effects of Steroid Hormones on Local and General Reticuloendothelial Activity: Relation of Steroid Structure to Function

  • T. Nicol
  • D. C. Quantock
  • B. Vernon-Roberts
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1)


The effects of various steroid hormones on phagocytosis and on the cellular and fluid phases of the local inflammatory response have been studied using the carbon clearance technique and a modified cotton pellet implantation technique in intact mice. Preliminary investigations showed that changes in the dry weight of the pellets removed on the fifth day after implantation could be completely accounted for by changes in fluid exudate (protein) content and were not significantly affected at this time by alterations in cell content (assessed histologically).

It was found that: (1) cortisone, hydrocortisone, and prednisone depressed phagocytic activity and inhibited both fluid.and cellular phases of the inflammatory response; (2) DOCA and progesterone were slight stimulants of phagocytic activity and increased both fluid and cellular phases of the inflammatory response; (3) 17β-estradiol, estrone, estriol, ethinylestradiol, and estradiol monobenzoate, which are strong stimulants of phagocytic activity, reduced the amount of fluid exudate but increased the number of cells at the inflammatory site; (4) testosterone and methyltestosterone had no effect on phagocytic activity, but increased both fluid and cellular phases of the inflammatory response; and, (5) hydrocortisone, DOCA, 17β-estradiol, ethinylestradiol, testosterone, and progesterone have the same overall effects on the fluid and cellular phases of the inflammatory response when administered by subcutaneous injection or by local impregnation into the pellets. These findings show that the steroid hormones have profound effects on the inflammatory response, and that estrogens have the unique property of being “anti-inflammatory” with respect to the fluid exudate response but “inflammatory” with respect to cellular response.

It was found that anti-inflammatory and inflammatory action could be related to specific features of the steroid molecule.


Phagocytic Activity Reticuloendothelial System Differential Cell Count Local Inflammatory Response Inflammatory Exudate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Nicol
    • 1
  • D. C. Quantock
    • 1
  • B. Vernon-Roberts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyKing’s College, University of LondonLondonEngland

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