Urinary cytokine and chemokine profiles across the menstrual cycle in healthy reproductive age women

Using longitudinal data on menstrual cycle function, we evaluated urinary cytokines levels for assessment of reproductive function by considering detection, variation across the menstrual cycle, and correlations with hormones.


Brian W. Whitcomb, Ph.D., Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., Neil J. Perkins, Ph.D., Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D., Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson, Sc.D., Kristine E. Lynch, Ph.D., Enrique F. Schisterman, Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 5, Pages 1383–1391.e2



To assess the utility of urinary cytokines for monitoring reproductive function by considering detection, variation across the menstrual cycle, and relations with hormones.


Longitudinal cohort study.


Academic institution.


Healthy, reproductive-aged women with self-reported regular menstrual cycles and at least one observed ovulatory cycle (n = 248).



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Urinary cytokines measured by 30-plex immunoassays in 3,550 biospecimens, and nested random-effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) and marginal structural models used to evaluate variability and relations with hormones.


For 24 of 30 evaluated factors, detectable levels were observed in at least 50% of urine samples. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, IL-10, IL-15, granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), interferon-α (IFN-α), and RANTES (regulated upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted) levels varied significantly across the menstrual cycle. The proinflammatory factors IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and HGF were 1.5–3 times higher during menses than the late follicular phase. In marginal structural models, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 were associated with lower estradiol and progesterone concentrations.


Variability during the menstrual cycle and correlations with reproductive hormone levels support a role of cytokines in the menstrual cycle; however, because of the limited variability for most cytokines considered, the utility of urine as a matrix for assessment of inflammation in menstrual cycle function appears limited for clinical purposes.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(14)00074-0/fulltext

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