Divergent immunomodulatory effects of recombinant and urinary-derived FSH, LH, and hCG on human CD4+ T cells

Fortunata Carbone, Claudio Procaccini, Veronica De Rosa, Carlo Alviggi, Giuseppe De Placido, Daniel Kramer, Salvatore Longobardi, Giuseppe Matarese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the in vitro immune-modulating activities of recombinant versus highly purified urinary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) at the cellular level. CD4+ T cells were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from ten healthy women (aged 19-30 years) with regular menstrual cycles during the follicular phase of their cycle. CD4+ T cells were stimulated with anti-CD3/CD28 monoclonal antibodies as a T cell-specific mitogen. Proliferative and cytokine responses were analyzed at standard time points (72h). Recombinant FSH (r-FSH) and LH (r-LH) alone showed a modest capacity to influence proliferation and cytokine release by CD4+ T cells. Conversely, their addition to T cells in combination with recombinant hCG (r-hCG) induced a powerful down-modulation of T cell proliferation, decreased interferon-γ (IFN-γ) secretion and increased interleukin-10 (IL-10) production. These immune-modulating activities were not present when CD4+ T cells were stimulated either in the presence of urinary-purified FSH (u-FSH) or human menopausal gonadotropin (HMG), alone or in combination with recombinant hCG. We are the first to suggest that urinary-purified gonadotropins do not display profound immune-modulating activities as compared with the recombinant preparations, despite their endocrine effects. Therefore, the use of the recombinant preparations in assisted reproductive techniques might be relevant not only for their well-documented endocrine actions but also for their impact on the transient immune tolerance known to favour embryo implantation and progression of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Follicle-stimulating hormone
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin
  • Immune response
  • Immunity
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Divergent immunomodulatory effects of recombinant and urinary-derived FSH, LH, and hCG on human CD4+ T cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this