bims-reprim Biomed News
on Reproductive immunology
Issue of 2021‒06‒06
ten papers selected by
Iva Filipovic
Karolinska Institutet

  1. J Immunol. 2021 Jun 04. pii: ji2100166. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tissue-resident memory CD8 T cells (CD8 TRM) are critical for maintaining barrier immunity. CD8 TRM have been mainly studied in the skin, lung and gut, with recent studies suggesting that the signals that control tissue residence and phenotype are highly tissue dependent. We examined the T cell compartment in healthy human cervicovaginal tissue (CVT) and found that most CD8 T cells were granzyme B+ and TCF-1- To address if this phenotype is driven by CVT tissue residence, we used a mouse model to control for environmental factors. Using localized and systemic infection models, we found that CD8 TRM in the mouse CVT gradually acquired a granzyme B+, TCF-1- phenotype as seen in human CVT. In contrast to CD8 TRM in the gut, these CD8 TRM were not stably maintained regardless of the initial infection route, which led to reductions in local immunity. Our data show that residence in the CVT is sufficient to progressively shape the size and function of its CD8 TRM compartment.
  2. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 670777
      A unique immunotolerant microenvironment with Th2 bias in the decidua provides an essential security for successful pregnancy. The disorganized maternal-fetal immune tolerance contributes to more than 50% of unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). How the Th2 bias is developed at the maternal-fetal interface remains undefined. NR2F2, a member of steroid/thyroid nuclear receptor superfamily, is endowed with diverse importance in cell-fate specification, organogenesis, angiogenesis, and metabolism. Here, we showed that NR2F2 was absolutely highly expressed in decidual CD4+T(dCD4+T) cells, but not in peripheral circulating CD4+T cells during early pregnancy. Decidual NR2F2-expressing CD4+T cells dominantly produced Th2 cytokines. In unexplained RSA patients, NR2F2 expression in dCD4+T cells was significantly decreased, accompanied with disordered phenotype of dCD4+T cells. Furthermore, overexpression of NR2F2 promoted the Th2 differentiation of naive CD4+T cells. Immunoprecipitation experiment confirmed the binding relationship between GATA-3 and NR2F2, which implied GATA-3 may be an important interactive element involved in the immunoregulatory process of NR2F2. This study is the first to reveal a previously unappreciated role for NR2F2-mediated dCD4+T cells in maternal-fetal immune tolerance and maintenance of normal pregnancy, in the hope of providing a potential biomarker for prediction and prevention of clinical unexplained RSA.
    Keywords:  CD4+T cell; GATA-3; NR2F2; maternal-fetal immune tolerance; pregnancy
  3. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 663660
      Decidual natural killer (dNK) cells are the tissue-resident and major subpopulation of NK cells at the maternal-fetal interface. It has been demonstrated that dNK cells play pivotal roles in pregnancy, including keeping maternal-fetal immune tolerance, promoting extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cell invasion, and driving uterine spiral artery remodeling. However, the molecular mechanisms haven't been elucidated until recent years. In this review, we systemically introduce the generation, subsets, and surface or soluble molecules of dNK cells, which are critical for maintaining the functions of dNK cells. Further, new functions of dNK cells including well-controlled cytotoxicity, immunosurveillance and immunotrophism supporting via the cell-cell interaction between dNK cells and EVT cells are mainly focused. The molecular mechanisms involved in these functions are also illustrated. Moreover, pregnancy-associated diseases caused by the dNK cells abnormalities are discussed. It will be important for future investigations about the mechanism of maintenance of pregnancy and parturition and potential clinical applications of dNK cells.
    Keywords:  decidual natural killer cells; early pregnancy; extravillous trophoblast cells; functional dialogue; maternal-fetal interface
  4. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(6): e0252642
      Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is an evolutionarily conserved stress response enzyme and important in pregnancy maintenance, fetal and neonatal outcomes, and a variety of pathologic conditions. Here, we investigated the effects of an exposure to systemic inflammation late in gestation [embryonic day (E)15.5] on wild-type (Wt) and HO-1 heterozygous (Het, HO-1+/-) mothers, fetuses, and offspring. We show that alterations in fetal liver and spleen HO homeostasis during inflammation late in gestation can lead to a sustained dysregulation of innate immune cell populations and intracellular myeloid HO-1 expression in the spleen through young adolescence [postnatal day 25] in mice.
  5. Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2021 Jun 03. 10935266211020723
      An emerging complication of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is reported. A 23-year-old patient presented with high temperature and reduced fetal movements at 25 + 5/40 weeks of gestation. RT-PCR proved maternal COVID-19 infection. Ultrasound examination confirmed intrauterine death. Placenta histology showed necrosis of the villous trophoblast, associated with Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI) and Massive Perivillous Fibrin Deposition (MPFD) with up to 90% - of the intervillous spaces being involved. Immunohistochemistry showed CD68 positive histiocytes in the intervillous spaces and the villous trophoblast was positive for the COVID-19 spike protein. RNA scope signal was indicative of the presence of the viral genome and active viral replication in the villous trophoblastic cells, respectively. MPFD is a gradually developing end-stage disease with various etiology, including autoimmune and alloimmune maternal response to antigens expressed at the feto-maternal interface and frequently accompanies chronic alloimmune villitis or histiocytic intervillositis. Covid-19 infection is associated with similar pattern of histological changes of the placenta leading to placental insufficiency and fetal death. This case report supports maternal- fetal vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus leading to placental insufficiency and fetal demise. MPFD and CHI appear to be the typical placental histology for SARS-CoV-2 virus infection associated fetal demise.
    Keywords:  Autopsy; Fetal; Infections; Microscopy; PediPath; Placenta
  6. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 655655
      Preeclampsia is a multi-factorial and multi-genetic disorder that affects more than eight million mother and baby pairs each year. Currently, most of the attention to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia has been focused on placenta, but recent progresses suggest that excellent decidualization lays foundation for placentation and growth. Moreover, preeclampsia is associated with an imbalance in immunoregulatory mechanisms, however, how the immune regulatory system in the decidua affects preeclampsia is still unclear. In our study, after intersecting the genes of differentially expressed between preeclampsia and the control gotten by conventional expression profile analysis and the genes contained in the ligand receptor network, we found eight differentially expressed genes in a ligand-receptor relationship, and the eight genes have a characteristic: most of them participate in the interaction between decidual macrophages and other decidual immune cells. The results of single-cell sequencing of decidual cells further demonstrated that decidual macrophages affect the functions of other immune cells through export. As a result, abnormal gene expression affects the export function of decidual macrophages, which in turn affects the interaction of decidual macrophages with other immune cells, thereby destroying the original immune regulation mechanism, and ultimately leading to the occurrence of preeclampsia.
    Keywords:  decidual macrophages; immune; immune cell; immunoregulation; preeclampsia
  7. J Pers Med. 2021 May 22. pii: 448. [Epub ahead of print]11(6):
      The endometrium undergoes regular regeneration and stromal proliferation as part of the normal menstrual cycle. To better understand cellular interactions driving the mechanisms in endometrial regeneration we employed single-cell RNA sequencing. Endometrial biopsies were obtained during the proliferative phase of the menstrual cycle from healthy fertile women and processed to single-cell suspensions which were submitted for sequencing. In addition to known endometrial cell types, bioinformatic analysis revealed multiple stromal populations suggestive of specific stromal niches with the ability to control inflammation and extracellular matrix composition. Ten different stromal cells and two pericyte subsets were identified. Applying different R packages (Seurat, SingleR, Velocyto) we established cell cluster diversity and cell lineage/trajectory, while using external data to validate our findings. By understanding healthy regeneration in the described stromal compartments, we aim to identify points of further investigation and possible targets for novel therapy development for benign gynecological disorders affecting endometrial regeneration and proliferation such as endometriosis and Asherman's syndrome.
    Keywords:  endometrial pericyte; endometrial regeneration; endometrium; mesenchymal stromal cell; wound healing
  8. Cell. 2021 May 25. pii: S0092-8674(21)00574-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The human fetal immune system begins to develop early during gestation; however, factors responsible for fetal immune-priming remain elusive. We explored potential exposure to microbial agents in utero and their contribution toward activation of memory T cells in fetal tissues. We profiled microbes across fetal organs using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and detected low but consistent microbial signal in fetal gut, skin, placenta, and lungs in the 2nd trimester of gestation. We identified several live bacterial strains including Staphylococcus and Lactobacillus in fetal tissues, which induced in vitro activation of memory T cells in fetal mesenteric lymph node, supporting the role of microbial exposure in fetal immune-priming. Finally, using SEM and RNA-ISH, we visualized discrete localization of bacteria-like structures and eubacterial-RNA within 14th weeks fetal gut lumen. These findings indicate selective presence of live microbes in fetal organs during the 2nd trimester of gestation and have broader implications toward the establishment of immune competency and priming before birth.
    Keywords:  Tem; Treg; bacteria; fetal Development; fetal immunity; immune memory; immune priming; microbes; microbiome
  9. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2021 May 31.
      PURPOSE: To provide a comprehensive review of uterus transplantation in 2021, including a discussion of pregnancy outcomes of all reported births to date, the donor and recipient selection process, the organ procurement and transplant surgeries, reported complications, postoperative monitoring, preimplantation preparation, and ethical considerations.METHODS: Literature review and expert commentary.
    RESULTS: Reports of thirty-one live births following uterus transplantation have been published from both living and deceased donors. The proper selection of donors and recipients is a labor-intensive process that requires advanced planning. A multidisciplinary team is critical. Reported complications in the recipient include thrombosis, infection, vaginal stricture, antenatal complications, and graft failure. Graft rejection is a common occurrence but rarely leads to graft removal. While most embryo transfers are successful, recurrent implantation failures in uterus transplant patients have been reported. Rates of preterm delivery are high but appear to be declining; more data, including long-term outcome data, is needed.
    CONCLUSIONS: Uterus transplantation is an emerging therapy for absolute uterine factor infertility, a condition previously without direct treatment options. It is paramount that reproductive health care providers are familiar with the uterus transplantation process as more patients seek and receive this treatment.
    Keywords:  Mullerian agenesis; Reproductive surgery; Uterine factor infertility; Uterus transplantation
  10. Lancet. 2021 May 27. pii: S0140-6736(20)32335-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pre-eclampsia is a multisystem pregnancy disorder characterised by variable degrees of placental malperfusion, with release of soluble factors into the circulation. These factors cause maternal vascular endothelial injury, which leads to hypertension and multi-organ injury. The placental disease can cause fetal growth restriction and stillbirth. Pre-eclampsia is a major cause of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity, especially in low-income and middle-income countries. Prophylactic low-dose aspirin can reduce the risk of preterm pre-eclampsia, but once pre-eclampsia has been diagnosed there are no curative treatments except for delivery, and no drugs have been shown to influence disease progression. Timing of delivery is planned to optimise fetal and maternal outcomes. Clinical trials have reported diagnostic and prognostic strategies that could improve fetal and maternal outcomes and have evaluated the optimal timing of birth in women with late preterm pre-eclampsia. Ongoing studies are evaluating the efficacy, dose, and timing of aspirin and calcium to prevent pre-eclampsia and are evaluating other drugs to control hypertension or ameliorate disease progression.