The immune responsiveness of spleens from female BALB/c mice to PHA, Con A, and LPS was greater at proestrus and metestrus as compared with estrus and diestrus. The peaks of responsiveness corresponded to reported elevated levels of estrogen and pregnenolone during these phases of the cycle. Similar results were obtained with the IgM or direct plaque-forming cell responses, which were also increased at proestrus and metestrus. It appears that female hormones may directly or indirectly stimulate immune responsiveness in adult mice.
This work was supported in part by the Charles and Johanna Busch Foundation Grant RR7059.