Medroxyprogesterone acetate-treated human, primary endometrial epithelial cells reveal unique gene expression signature linked to innate immunity and HIV-1 susceptibility Academic Article uri icon

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  • PROBLEM: Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a progestin-based hormonal contraceptive designed to mimic progesterone, has been linked to increased human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) susceptibility. Genital epithelial cells (GECs) form the mucosal lining of the female genital tract (FGT) and provide the first line of protection against HIV-1. The impact of endogenous sex hormones or MPA on the gene expression profile of GECs has not been comprehensively documented. METHOD OF STUDY: Using microarray analysis, we characterized the transcriptional profile of primary endometrial epithelial cells grown in physiological levels of E2, P4, and MPA. RESULTS: Each hormone treatment altered the gene expression profile of GECs in a unique manner. Interestingly, although MPA is a progestogen, the gene expression profile induced by it was distinct from P4. MPA increased gene expression of genes related to inflammation and cholesterol synthesis linked to innate immunity and HIV-1 susceptibility. CONCLUSION: The analysis of gene expression profiles provides insights into the effects of sex hormones and MPA on GECs and allows us to posit possible mechanisms of the MPA-mediated increase in HIV-1 acquisition.


  • Woods, Matthew W
  • Zahoor, Muhammad Atif
  • Dizzell, Sara
  • Verschoor, Chris P
  • Kaushic, Charu

publication date

  • January 2018