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Reproduction (Cambridge, England)

Human decidual natural killer cells as a source and target of macrophage migration inhibitory factor.


PMID 16388020

Abstract

The human uterine mucosa of early pregnancy is largely populated by CD56(bright) natural killer (NK) cells (uterine (u) NK cells). The specific functions of these cells are still unknown, but their interaction and response to foetal trophoblasts are thought to be important for the establishment of a successful pregnancy. The study reported herein shows that uNK cells respond to, and produce, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), a cytokine highly expressed in the human placenta and in the cyclic and pregnant endometrium. Recombinant human MIF reduced in a dose-dependent manner the cytolytic activity of purified uNK cells against K562 cells. RT-PCR, Western blot analysis and ELISA demonstrated the synthesis and secretion of the cytokine by uNK cells. Double immunofluorescence staining showed the presence of MIF in uterine CD56 + cells. Finally, neutralization of the endogenous cytokine by a polyclonal antibody resulted in a sharp increase in the cytolytic activity of uNK cells. These findings indicate the existence of a previously unrevealed paracrine and autocrine action of MIF on uNK cells and support its contribution to the immune privilege at the maternal-foetal interface.