, Volume 24, Issue 9, pp 379-386

What is the role of regulatory T cells in the success of implantation and early pregnancy?

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Abstract

Problem

The immune system is well controlled by the balance between immunostimulation and immunoregulation. CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells and an enzyme called indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO) mediate maternal tolerance of the allogeneic fetus. Treg cells, therefore, may prevent early pregnancy loss due to maternal ‘rejection.’

Methods

The latest understanding of tolerance during pregnancy is reviewed.

Results and conclusions

Recent data show that CD4+CD25+ Treg cells play essential roles in the induction and maintenance of tolerance, and that they augment the IDO activity in dendritic cells and macrophages. Therefore, CD4+CD25+ Treg cells and IDO enzyme may cooperate in the induction of tolerance during pregnancy. Treg deficiency is associated with very early post-implantation loss and spontaneous abortion in animal models, and low Treg levels are associated with recurrent miscarriages in humans.