Progesterone, pregnancy, and innate immunity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Progesterone plays an important role in the feto-maternal immunological relationship. The products of the progesterone-regulated genes Gal-1 and Hox-A10 affect dendritic cell (DC) function and differentiation of decidual NK cells, respectively. Progesterone favors the induction of immature DCs with a tolerogenic phenotype and inhibits the activity of mature DCs. Deficiency interferes with NK cell differentiation, while NK cell migration to the endometrium is supported by progesterone-induced specific endometrial production of chemokines. Progesterone upregulates HLA-G gene expression, which serves as a ligand for NK inhibitory and activating receptors. Many of the immunological effects of progesterone are mediated by a progesterone-induced protein called progesterone-induced blocking factor (PIBF). Progesterone and PIBF act on T cell differentiation to induce a Th2 dominance during pregnancy. Progesterone also promotes the development of LIF- as well as M-CSF-producing T cells. PIBF blocks upregulation of perforin expression in decidual lymphocytes cultured with decidual adherent cells and inhibits NK cell cytotoxicity by blocking granule exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSex Hormones and Immunity to Infection
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783642021558
ISBN (Print)9783642021541
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Szekeres-Bartho, J., & Polgar, B. (2010). Progesterone, pregnancy, and innate immunity. In Sex Hormones and Immunity to Infection (pp. 205-226). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.