A study published on Sept 15th in PLOS Pathogens reports that treatment with progesterone protects female mice against the consequences of influenza infection by reducing inflammation and improving pulmonary function, primarily through upregulation of amphiregulin in lung cells.

Progesterone signals through progesterone receptors present on many immune cells (eg, NK cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, and T cells) and other cells throughout the body. In general, progesterone appears to dampen immune responses and reduce inflammation.

Although the immunomodulatory effects of progesterone-based contraception have been studied in the context of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and herpes simplex virus, the potential impact of progesterone on viral infections outside of the reproductive tract has not received much attention.

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