Steroid hormone bioavailability is controlled by the lymphatic system.

Klossner, Rahel; Groessl, Michael; Schumacher, Nadine; Fux, Michaela; Escher, Geneviève; Verouti, Sophia; Jamin, Heidi; Vogt, Bruno; Mohaupt, Markus G; Gennari-Moser, Carine (2021). Steroid hormone bioavailability is controlled by the lymphatic system. Scientific reports, 11(1), p. 9666. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-021-88508-w

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The steroid hormone progesterone accounts for immune tolerance in pregnancy. Enhanced progesterone metabolism to 6α-OH-pregnanolone occurs in complicated pregnancies such as in preeclampsia with preterm delivery or intrauterine growth restriction, and in cancer. As lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) promote tumor immunity, we hypothesized that human LECs modify progesterone bioavailability. Primary human LECs and mice lymph nodes were incubated with progesterone and progesterone metabolism was analyzed by thin layer chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Expression of steroidogenic enzymes, down-stream signal and steroid hormone receptors was assessed by Real-time PCR. The placental cell line HTR-8/SV neo was used as reference. The impact of the progesterone metabolites of interest was investigated on the immune system by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis. LECs metabolize progesterone to 6α-OH-pregnanolone and reactivate progesterone from a precursor. LECs highly express 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 and are therefore antiandrogenic and antiestrogenic. LECs express several steroid hormone receptors and PIBF1. Progesterone and its metabolites reduced TNF-α and IFN-γ production in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. LECs modify progesterone bioavailability and are a target of steroid hormones. Given the global area represented by LECs, they might have a critical immunomodulatory control in pregnancy and cancer.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Nephrology and Hypertension
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Nephrologie / Hypertonie
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Institute of Clinical Chemistry

UniBE Contributor:

Klossner, Rahel, Grössl, Michael, Fux, Michaela, Escher, Geneviève, Vogt, Bruno, Mohaupt, Markus, Gennari, Carine


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Springer Nature




Geneviève Escher

Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2022 11:25

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:16

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