Abstract ABSTRACT Steroids hormones modify the hematological features of homozygous sickle cell disease, including the levels of fetal hemoglobin. We used semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis of GATA-1, GATA-2, NF-E2, and γ-globin mRNA levels in a two-phase liquid culture system of human adult erythroid cells in order to assay the effect of progesterone upon gene expression. The levels of expression of GATA-1 and γ-globin mRNA were significantly increased in cells treated with progesterone compared to untreated cells (1.7- to 2.0-fold). Progesterone treatment did not produce any stimulatory effect upon GATA-2 and NF-E2 mRNA expression. Differences in the synthesis of HbF protein could not be detected by flow cytometry, although we observed a small difference in mean intensity fluorescence between cells treated and cells untreated with progesterone on days 7 and 9. Using anti-transferrin receptor and anti-glycophorin A antibodies, we verified that addition of progesterone did not cause any change in erythroid proliferation and differentiation. In conclusion, it is possible that the increased expression of γ-globin mRNA after progesterone treatment observed in this study may be related to the increased GATA-1 mRNA expression. Interactions of the steroid receptors with the basal transcriptional machinery and with transcription factors might mediate their transcriptional effects.