The Molecular Pathology Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, German University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
This study aimed at investigating the effect of progesterone on interferon signaling pathways in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). PBMCs were isolated from peripheral blood of 38 treatment-naïve HCV-infected patients, pooled, and stimulated with progesterone in the presence and absence of its receptor antagonist, mifepristone, along with interferon alpha (IFN-α) or imiquimod. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) were quantified in PBMCs using RT-qPCR. Imiquimod alone or combined with progesterone did not change MxA expression in HCV-infected PBMCs. Progesterone decreased the inducing effect of IFN-α on TLR-7 expression in both males and females. Moreover, progesterone stimulation prior to IFN-α treatment attenuated the Jak/STAT pathway, which was reflected by decreased expression of MxA in females. Progesterone showed a negative impact on the IFN signaling pathway in HCV-infected PBMCs as it decreased the expression of TLR-7 in both genders, while MxA expression was decreased only in females.