Suppressor cells in human decidua.
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Decidual suppressor cells have been found in the murine system. These cells are absent at the implantation sites of interspecies mouse embryos which become infiltrated by maternal cytotoxic cells. Suppression is also deficient at the sites of the spontaneous resorption of fetuses in allomated intraspecies pregnancies. This study was carried out to determine whether similar suppressor cells were present in the decidua during successful human allopregnancies. Decidua was obtained from gestations of 13 to 15 weeks and from term gestations, and the lymphocytes were tested for their ability to suppress the response of their peripheral blood lymphocytes to concanavalin A. Eight of eight 13- to 15-week decidual lymphocytes proved to be suppressive. At term seven of twelve lymphocyte preparations at a lower concentration of cells and six of seven at a higher concentration showed suppression. Suppressor cells appear to be present in human decidua and may play a role in preventing maternal immunologic attack on the allogenic embryo, thereby preventing spontaneous abortion.
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