Regulation of abortion by gamma delta T cells.
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PROBLEM: T cells are present at the feto-maternal interface, but their function during pregnancy has not been fully elucidated. T cells bearing gamma delta T-cell receptor (TCR) may be particularly important, as some subsets can react to trophoblast cells by producing cytokines, such as interleukin-2 (IL-2). METHOD: We depleted T cells bearing the gamma delta receptor by injecting monoclonal antibodies (mAb) into females of the abortion-prone animal model CBA x DBA/2. We investigated the percentage and number of gamma delta T-cell receptor positive (TCR)+ cells in decidua and spleen during pregnancy in control and gamma delta-depleted female mice. Pregnant females were also exposed to ultrasonic sound stress to boost the abortion rate. RESULTS: Stress failed to increase the abortion rate in the gamma delta TCR-depleted mice. FACScan analysis show that the ratio of cells bearing the gamma delta TCR dramatically decreased after injection of mAB to the gamma delta TCR in spleen and decidua, these cells recovered six days after depletion, showing a change in cytokine pattern. Levels of TNF-alpha in decidual gamma delta T cells decreased; similar effects of decreasing Th1 cytokines could be observed in splenic gamma delta T cells. We further identified increased levels of intracellular TNF-alpha in the V delta 4 subset in the decidua, compared to spleen. CONCLUSIONS: Trophoblast recognition by the V delta 4 T-cell subset in the decidua may cause the release of abortogenic cytokines such as TNF-alpha. Depletion of such gamma delta TCR T cells during early pregnancy may promote successful pregnancy outcome in normal pregnancy and prevent stress-induced abortions.
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