Objective: To investigate the immunologic deviations of postmenopausal women before and after hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Design: Prospective study. Setting: University teaching hospital.Patient(s): Seventeen postmenopausal women (study group) and 17 women of reproductive age (control group). Intervention(s): Continuous usage of E2 valerate 2 mg/d and medroxyprogesterone acetate 5 mg/d in postmenopausal women in the study group. Main Outcome Measure(s): Immunophenotyping with flow cytometry, cytokine production with and without mitogen stimulation of the peripheral mononuclear cells, and a natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity test against K562 target cells by the 51Cr-release assay were performed in the control group and in the study group before, 1 month after, and 6 months after HRT. Result(s): NK cytotoxicity, interferon-γ production, and the T-cell subpopulation were significantly decreased, and the subpopulations of CD3+CD25+ and CD3+HLA-DR+ were increased in the study group before HRT when compared with those in the control group. After HRT was given for 6 months, however, the NK cytotoxicity increased significantly in the postmenopausal women to a value similar to that of the control group. Conclusion(s): Women after menopause are prone to impaired immune responses. Nevertheless, some of the impairment can be restored after HRT. Copyright (C) 2000 American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
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