The Complexity of Interactions Between Female Sex Hormones and Chlamydia Trachomatis Infections

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Recent Findings: Recent data support previous work indicating that estrogen enhances chlamydial development via multiple mechanisms. Progesterone negatively impacts Chlamydia infections also through multiple mechanisms, particularly by altering the immune response. Conflicting data exist regarding the effect of synthetic hormones, such as those found in hormonal contraceptives, on chlamydial infections. Summary: Numerous studies over the years have indicated that female sex hormones affect C. trachomatis infection. However, we still do not have a clear understanding of how these hormones alter Chlamydia disease transmission and progression. The studies reviewed here indicate that there are many variables that determine the outcome of Chlamydia/hormone interactions, including (1) the specific hormone, (2) hormone concentration, (3) cell type or area of the genital tract, (4) hormone responsiveness of cell lines, and (5) animal models.