Immunoregulatory molecules of trophoblast and decidual suppressor cell origin at the maternofetal interface. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The mammalian fetus expresses a variety of paternal histocompatible, oncofetal, and trophoblast antigens against which the mother can mount an immune response. Survival of the "fetal graft" appears to depend upon local immunosuppressive mechanisms in lymph nodes draining the uterus and at the intrauterine implanation site itself. Nonspecific not-T-Fc-receptor-bearing small lymphocytes containing cytoplasmic granules present in successfully allopregnant mice can suppress both the generation of maternal-antipaternal killer T cells and the infiltration of cytotoxic T lymphocytes into sponge-matrix allografts during the effector phase of the immune response. These suppressor cells are deficient at the implantation sites of xenogeneic and allogeneic mouse embryos that are susceptible to maternal immunity and are destined to resorb. A soluble suppressor factor of approximately 100,000 daltons in size can be obtained from the suppressor cells and acts to block the response of T cells to interleukin-2 by interfering with IL-2 receptors. The development of the suppressor cells in the decidua requires certain hormonal signals as well as signals provided by trophoblast cells. Freshly explanted or cultured murine trophoblast cell lines elaborate soluble factor(s) that are active in recruitment or activation of suppressor cells. Since suppressor cells may be isolated from decidua of successfully allopregnant humans, the suppressor cell mechanism and its regulation may represent a key factor in the protection of the "fetal allograft" from rejection by maternal immunity.

publication date

  • March 1986

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