Sex Differences in Macrophage Functions in Middle-Aged Rats: Relevance of Estradiol Level and Macrophage Estrogen Receptor Expression
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The aim of this study was to examine the influence of sex on age-related changes in phenotype and functional capacity of rat macrophages. The potential role of estradiol as a contributing factor to a sex difference in macrophage function with age was also examined. Thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages derived from the young (2 months old) and the naturally senescent intact middle-aged (16 months old) male and female rats were tested for cytokine secretion and antimicrobial activity (NO and H2O2 production and myeloperoxidase activity). Serum concentration of estradiol and the expression of estrogen receptor (ER)α and ERβ on freshly isolated peritoneal macrophages were also examined. Decreased secretion of IL-1β and IL-6 by macrophages from middle-aged compared to the young females was accompanied with the lesser density of macrophage ERα expression and the lower systemic level of estradiol, whereas the opposite was true for middle-aged male rats. Macrophages in the middle-aged females, even with the diminished circulating estradiol levels, produce increased amount of IL-6, and comparable amounts of IL-1β, TNF-α, and NO to that measured in macrophages from the middle-aged males. Age-related changes in macrophage phenotype and the antimicrobial activity were independent of macrophage ERα/ERβ expression and estradiol level in both male and female rats. Although our study suggests that the sex difference in the level of circulating estradiol may to some extent contribute to sex difference in macrophage function of middle-aged rats, it also points to more complex hormonal regulation of peritoneal macrophage activity in females.
Keywords:Estradiol; Estrogen receptor α (ERα); Estrogen receptor β (ERβ); Middle-aged rats; Thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages; Sex differences
- Immune system plasticity during aging: Immunomodulatory capacity of oestrogens (RS-175050)
In: Inflammation (2017)