Tumor Necrosis Factor-α mRNA-Positive Cells in Spontaneous Resorption in Rodents
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PROBLEM: It has been proposed that high rates of resorption/spontaneous abortion may result from interaction in the decidua of gamma-interferon-producing natural killer (NK) cells and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-producing macrophages. An increased release of TNF-alpha from placental tissue of resorptions has been reported, but macrophages producing TNF-alpha have so far not been demonstrated at the feto-maternal interface. Therefore, we have sought to identify TNF-alpha-producing cells by in situ hybridization at the feto-maternal interface in two inbred, well-characterized, and stable strains of laboratory rodents with high and low resorption rates. METHOD OF STUDY: Pregnant DBA/2-mated CBA/J mice with a resorption rate of 20% to 30% (dependent on NK cells and macrophages) and diabetes-resistant Bio-Breeding/Edinburgh (DR-BB/E) rats with low resorption rates (presumed to result from chromosomal abnormalities) were studied. AsialoGM1+ cells were detected by immunohistochemistry, and TNF-alpha mRNA+ cells were detected by in situ hybridization. RESULTS: TNF-alpha mRNA+ cells were detected in DBA/2-mated CBA/J mice at the time of resorption but only at the trophoblast-decidual junction. AsialoGM1+ cells were present in decidua, as assessed by immunohistochemistry, but few if any gave a positive signal for TNF-alpha. In rat resorptions, TNF-alpha mRNA-positive cells were present within the yolk sac and in contact with the trophoblast, but not at the trophoblast-decidual junction. In neither species did a significant accumulation of detectable TNF-alpha mRNA+ cells occur before the usual time of onset of resorption. CONCLUSIONS: In the DBA/2-mated CBA/J mouse, the removal of the placenta is associated with removal of a thin rim of adherent decidua similar to the location of the TNF-alpha mRNA+ cells detected in this study. Our data suggest that increased TNF-alpha in tissues associated with failing feto-placental units may arise from infiltration/activation of scavenger cells from decidua that are likely to be macrophages. Local TNF-alpha production in decidua, which occurs as a prelude to resorption in the CBA x DBA/2 model, could not be detected due to the insensitivity of the TNF-alpha probe we used; the release of TNF-alpha from decidual tissue left after the removal of the placenta does not differ between resorbing and healthy implant sites. AsialoGM1+ cells did not seem to be major producers of TNF-alpha. TNF-alpha mRNA+ cells in a low rate of resorption (rat) model were only found on the fetal side of the trophoblast, and they may also represent a macrophage response (to dying embryo tissue) derived from a nondecidual source. The location of TNF-alpha mRNA+ cells may identify distinct and different mechanisms of resorption in rodents.
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