Tuberculosis (TB) is an intracellular infection controlled the effective recruitment of effectors immune cells at infection site. In aged premenopausal or menopausal women, there is an increased pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion suggesting an underlying link between cytokines response and estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) levels.
In this study we compared women aged 40 years old and above (premenopausal) and women aged below 40 years old with and without latent TB infection to determine the link between E2, P4 and cytokines response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) stimuli.
E2 and P4 levels were significantly higher in women under 40 years old than in women above 40 years old irrespective their LTB status (p < [0.0001–0.05]). In women under 40 years old, E2 and P4 were found to correlate negatively and significantly with IL-8 response to M. tuberculosis antigens stimulation ((p < [0.001–0.01]). Furthermore, M. tuberculosis IL-8 specific response was significantly higher in women above 40 years old than women under 40 years old. This study demonstrates that women aging and the linked hormonal changes are associated with hence IL-8 response to M. tuberculosis antigen, which may have implications for the age-related susceptibility or resistance to active tuberculosis.