Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Alters Mycobacterium Bovis BCG-Induced Cytokine Production in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Contraceptive Users

Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 09/2011; 6(9):e24639. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024639
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most individuals latently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) contain the infection by a balance of effector and regulatory immune responses. This balance can be influenced by steroid hormones such as glucocorticoids. The widely used contraceptive medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) possesses glucocorticoid activity. We investigated the effect of this hormone on immune responses to BCG in household contacts of active TB patients. Multiplex bead array analysis revealed that MPA demonstrated both glucocorticoid and progestogenic properties at saturating and pharmacological concentrations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and suppressed antigen specific cytokine production. Furthermore we showed that PBMCs from women using MPA produced significantly lower levels of IL-1α, IL-12p40, IL-10, IL-13 and G-CSF in response to BCG which corresponded with lower numbers of circulating monocytes observed in these women. Our research study is the first to show that MPA impacts on infections outside the genital tract due to a systemic effect on immune function. Therefore MPA use could alter susceptibility to TB, TB disease severity as well as change the efficacy of new BCG-based vaccines, especially prime-boost vaccine strategies which may be administered to adult or adolescent women in the future.


Available from: Andre Loxton, Apr 19, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Whether hormonal contraceptives increase HIV-1 acquisition, transmission and disease progression are critical questions. Clinical research has been hampered by a lack of understanding that different progestins used in contraception exhibit differential off-target effects via steroid receptors other than the progesterone receptor. Of particular, relevance is the relative effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) and norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN), widely used as injectable contraceptives in sub-Saharan Africa. While most high-quality clinical studies find no increased risk for HIV-1 acquisition with oral contraception or injectable NET-EN, most do find an increase with MPA, particularly in young women. Furthermore, mounting evidence from animal, ex vivo and biochemical studies are consistent with MPA acting to increase HIV-1 acquisition and pathogenesis, via mechanisms involving glucocorticoid-like effects on gene expression, in particular genes involved in immune function. We report that MPA, unlike NET and progesterone, represses inflammatory genes in human PBMCs in a dose-dependent manner, via the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), at concentrations within the physiologically relevant range. These and published results collectively suggest that the differential GR activity of MPA versus NET may be a mechanism whereby MPA, unlike NET or progesterone, differentially modulates HIV-1 acquisition and pathogenesis in target cells where the GR is the predominant steroid receptor expressed.
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