Characterization of the cellular basis for the inhibition of cytolytic effector cells by murine placenta
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Direct suppression of cytolytic effector cell function by cells of the placenta may represent one mechanism that protects the "fetal allograft" from rejection by maternal transplantation immunity. Collagenase disaggregated murine placental cells block target cell lysis by natural killer, lymphokine-activated killer, and (CTL)-type killer cells. This inhibition is reversible and noncompetitive, similar to a previously described inhibitor of CTL found in spleens of mice undergoing an acute graft vs host (GVH) response. Velocity sedimentation separation of placental cells shows that the inhibitory activity is primarily associated with cells that cosediment with nucleated fetal erythrocytes. When these erythrocytes were lysed, an increased number of non-erythrocytic cells could be separated and under this circumstance, inhibitory activity was seen in association with either small white cells or fetal erythrocytes and with large white cells. There may be several cell populations in murine placenta that can inhibit cytolytic effector cells. The possible relevance of direct placental inhibition of cytolytic effectors to protection of the "fetal allograft" is discussed.
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