Spontaneous Abortion in Immunodeficient SCID Mice
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PROBLEM: Immunodeficient SCID mice on the CB-17 have been used to test the role of "rejection" in a xenogeneic blastocyst transfer model of recurrent miscarriage, but interpretation of the data requires knowing syngeneic within-species matings have a high success rate and do not require immunotrophic factors expected only in immunocompetent non-T-cell deficient mice. METHOD: Resorption rates were studied in a SCID CB-17 barrier facility that provided the mice used to test the role of immunology in the resorption model. RESULTS: Spontaneous resorption in syngeneically mated immunodeficient SCID mice on the CB-17 background occurred at an unexpectedly high rate and could not be prevented by treatment with anti-asialo GM1 antibody or GM-CSF, both of which are effective in ameliorating abortion in DBA/2J-mated CBA/J mice. Immunocompetent CB-17 +/+ mice showed an even higher rate of loss. The latter was also not affected by treatment with antiasialo GM1 antibody or by GM-CSF and was not prevented by tetracycline (which is effective in the DBA/2-CBA/J system) or progesterone treatment. Mating experiments showed a scid/+ x scid@+ cross gave the highest rate of loss, and it appeared that the presence of +/(+)-type embryos in the uterus could be augmenting abortion with selective discrimination against scid/scid embryos. High abortion rates were associated both with appearance of a coagulase-negative Staphylococcus sp. in feces and with loss of one component of the SPF flora. Decidual tissue from mated CB-17 +/+ mice showed premature release of TNF-alpha in absence of TGF-beta 2-related suppressor activity, and vascular lesions (fibrinoid necrosis), varying in extent, were associated with both scid/scid x scid/scid and +/+ x +/+ pregnancies. TNF-alpha also appeared prematurely in pregnant scid/scid mice, but the levels were lower (and areas of necrosis smaller than in +/+ x +/+ pregnancies). Outcrossing onto a C57B1/6 background dramatically reduced the abortion rate, indicating an important genetic effect on susceptibility with heterogeneity protecting against abortion. CONCLUSIONS: SCID mice on the CB-17 background do not have a high rate of successful syngeneic pregnancies, and a TNF-alpha induced vasculopathy may be responsible. Abortion was not caused by immunodeficiency leading to loss of immunotrophism because immunocompetent non-SCID CB-17 mice had a higher rate of loss. Factors augmenting the abortion rate included the presence of embryos of the +/+ genotype in the uterus and treatment with anti-asialo GM1 antibody. Abortion rates were not reduced by treatments effective in the DBA/2-mated CBA/J mouse model but were reduced by re-establishing a new colony with defined flora (a temporary effect) and by outcrossing mice with a different (C57B1/6) background. Together, the data suggest an infectious trigger (identity uncertain) of the vasculopathy and an important genetic influence on susceptibility with heterozygosity and a SCID mouse mutation providing against abortion a degree of protection.