Ethinyl estradiol treats collagen-induced arthritis in DBA/1LacJ mice by inhibiting the production of TNF-α and IL-1β

Sandhya Subramanian, Micah Tovey, Michael Afentoulis, Aric Krogstad, Arthur Vandenbark, Halina Offner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated the therapeutic effects of ethinyl estradiol (EE), an orally active estrogen and a component of birth control pills, in encephalitogenic autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In this study, we report the effectiveness of EE in treating collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) induced with bovine type II collagen (bCII) in DBA/1LacJ mice, a CIA susceptible strain. Both low and high doses of EE notably suppressed clinical and histological signs of CIA in a dose-dependent manner compared to vehicle-treated controls. Oral treatment with EE decreased proliferation and secretion of pro-inflammatory factors, TNF-α IFN-γ, MCP-1 and IL-6 by bCII peptide-specific T cells, production of bCII-specific IgG2a antibodies, and mRNA for cytokines, chemokines and chemokine receptors in joint tissue. This is the first report demonstrating effective treatment of joint inflammation and clinical signs of CIA with orally administered ethinyl estradiol, thus supporting its possible clinical use for treating rheumatoid arthritis in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-172
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005



  • Collagen-induced arthritis
  • Cytokines
  • Ethinyl estradiol
  • Oral therapy
  • Regulation of T cells and antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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