Effects of prolonged administration of the 19-nor-testosterone derivatives norethindrone and norgestrel to female NZB/W mice: comparison with medroxyprogesterone and ethinyl estradiol. Academic Article uri icon


  • To evaluate effects of commonly used progestational estrogenic contraceptive steroids in a hormone-responsive model of lupus, we treated female NZB/W mice before clinical disease (6 wks of age) and after onset of lupus (24 wks of age) with doses of hormones titered to suppress reproduction. We report efficacy of norethindrone (NE) and norgestrel (NG), progestins derived from 19-nor-testosterone, in delaying expression of anti-DNA antibodies. Mice implanted with NG at 24 wks of age had prolonged lifespans. In contrast, the hydroxyprogesterone derivative, medroxyprogesterone acetate (MP), did not affect autoimmune disease. These observations suggest that prolonged administration of 19-nor-testosterone derivatives, in small doses adequate to suppress reproduction, may have ameliorative effects in systemic lupus erythematosus. Mice receiving ethinyl estradiol (EE) plus courses of tetracycline to suppress cystitis had active anti-DNA responses. In 60% of EE-treated mice, however, early deaths resulted from malignant lymphomas and complications of obstructive uropathy. Estrogen toxicity, rather than accelerated lupus, was the major cause of death in NZB/W mice treated with EE.

published proceedings

  • Autoimmunity

author list (cited authors)

  • Keisler, L. W., Kier, A. B., & Walker, S. E.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Keisler, LW||Kier, AB||Walker, SE

publication date

  • January 1991