Evidence for a Selective Migration of Fetus-Specific CD4 + CD25bright Regulatory T Cells from the Peripheral Blood to the Decidua in Human Pregnancy

Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 05/2008; 180(8):5737-45. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.180.8.5737
Source: PubMed


During pregnancy, the maternal immune system has to tolerate the persistence of fetal alloantigens. Many mechanisms contribute to the prevention of a destructive immune response mediated by maternal alloreactive lymphocytes directed against the allogeneic fetus. Murine studies suggest that CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells provide mechanisms of specific immune tolerance to fetal alloantigens during pregnancy. Previous studies by our group demonstrate that a significantly higher percentage of activated T cells and CD4(+)CD25(bright) T cells are present in decidual tissue in comparison with maternal peripheral blood in human pregnancy. In this study, we examined the phenotypic and functional properties of CD4(+)CD25(bright) T cells derived from maternal peripheral blood and decidual tissue. Depletion of CD4(+)CD25(bright) T cells from maternal peripheral blood demonstrates regulation to third party umbilical cord blood cells comparable to nonpregnant controls, whereas the suppressive capacity to umbilical cord blood cells of her own child is absent. Furthermore, maternal peripheral blood shows a reduced percentage of CD4(+)CD25(bright)FOXP3(+) and CD4(+)CD25(bright)HLA-DR(+) cells compared with peripheral blood of nonpregnant controls. In contrast, decidual lymphocyte isolates contain high percentages of CD4(+)CD25(bright) T cells with a regulatory phenotype that is able to down-regulate fetus-specific and fetus-nonspecific immune responses. These data suggest a preferential recruitment of fetus-specific regulatory T cells from maternal peripheral blood to the fetal-maternal interface, where they may contribute to the local regulation of fetus-specific responses.

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Available from: Frans Claas, Oct 05, 2015
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    • "They showed afterwards that the transferred Treg cells act by creating a privileged tolerant environment, and by up-regulating leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), TGF-β, and HO-1 levels (25). Tilburgs et al. reported selective migration of specific Treg cells from blood to the decidua in human pregnancy (26). Then, seminal fluid was shown to drive expansion of CD4+CD25+ cells in mouse (27). "
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    ABSTRACT: Acceptance of the fetal semi-allograft by the mother's immune system has become the focus of intensive research. CD4+ T cells are important actors in the establishment of pregnancy. Th1/Th2 paradigm has been expanded to include CD4+ regulatory T (Treg) and T helper 17 (Th17) cells. Pregnancy hormones exert very significant modulatory properties on the maternal immune system. In this review, we describe mechanisms by which the endocrine milieu modulates CD4 T cell polarization during pregnancy. We first focused on Treg and Th17 cells and on their importance for pregnancy. Secondly, we review the effects of pregnancy hormones [progesterone (P4) and estradiol (E2)] on immune cells previously described, with a particular attention to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The importance of Treg cells for pregnancy is evidenced. They are recruited before implantation and are essential for pregnancy maintenance. Decreased number or less efficient Treg cells are implicated in fertility disorders. As for Th17 cells, the few available studies suggest that they have a negative impact on fertility. Th17 frequency is increased in infertile patients. With the combination of its pro-effects on Th2 and Treg cells and anti-effects on Th1 and Th17 cells, P4 contributes to establishment of a favorable environment for pregnancy. E2 effects are more dependent on the context but it seems that E2 promotes Treg and Th2 cells while it inhibits Th1 cells. hCG positively influences activities of Treg and uterine natural killer cells. This embryo signal is an essential actor for the success of pregnancy, both as the endocrine factor regulating P4 secretion by the ovarian corpus luteum, but also as a paracrine agent during implantation as well as an angiogenic and immunologic mediator during the course of gestation. Luteinizing hormone (LH) immune properties begin to be studied but its positive impact on Treg cells suggests that LH could be a considerable immunomodulator in the mouse.
    Frontiers in Endocrinology 07/2014; 5:106. DOI:10.3389/fendo.2014.00106
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    • "Given the decidua is the fetal–maternal interface and the likely place of fetal antigen encounter, it is not surprising that the proportion of Treg cells is even greater in the decidua during pregnancy compared to the peripheral blood (77, 78). The question is whether these Treg cells are recruited from the peripheral blood or induced locally. "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal immune tolerance of the fetus is indispensable for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Nowhere is this immune tolerance more important than at the fetal-maternal interface - the decidua, the site of implantation, and placentation. Indeed, many lines of evidence suggest an immunological origin to the common pregnancy-related disorder, pre-eclampsia. Within the innate immune system, decidual NK cells and antigen presenting cells (including dendritic cells and macrophages) make up a large proportion of the decidual leukocyte population, and are thought to modulate vascular remodeling and trophoblast invasion. On the other hand, within the adaptive immune system, Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells are crucial for ensuring immune tolerance toward the semi-allogeneic fetus. Additionally, another population of CD4(+)HLA-G(+) suppressor T cells has also been identified as a potential player in the maintenance of immune tolerance. More recently, studies are beginning to unravel the potential interactions between the innate and the adaptive immune system within the decidua, that are required to maintain a healthy pregnancy. In this review, we discuss the recent advances exploring the complex crosstalk between the innate and the adaptive immune system during human pregnancy.
    Frontiers in Immunology 03/2014; 5:125. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00125
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    • "There are contradictory data regarding the participation of antigen-dependent and independent mechanisms for Treg expansion during pregnancy [5] [6] [7]. Aluvihare and colleagues [8] showed that the increase in the number of CD4 + CD25 + T cells in syngeneically mated female mice is comparable to that of allogeneically mated females. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pregnancy establishment and maintenance represents a challenge for the maternal immune system because it has to be alert against pathogens while tolerating paternal alloantigens expressed in fetal structures. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are important for successful implantation and involved in allotolerance towards paternal antigens. The origin and mechanisms leading to Treg generation during pregnancy at different stages remain under discussion. We report an accumulation of Helios(+) Tregs in thymus and in the lymph nodes draining the uterus at early pregnancy. At later pregnancy stages an expanded population of Foxp3(+) Tregs was generated in the periphery as we showed in a Rag-1(-/-) model of cell transfer. Our data suggest that Tregs, predominantly of thymic origin, are needed for pregnancy establishment. At later pregnancy stages an extra thymic Treg population contributes to the Treg pool in the periphery. Our data provides new insights in the origin of Tregs during pregnancy that are essential to understand natural mechanisms of tolerance acquisition.
    11/2013; 2(3):222-33.
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