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Uterine NK cells: active regulators at the maternal-fetal interface.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Clinical Investigation
1558-8238
Publisher
American Society for Clinical Investigation
Publication Date
Volume
124
Issue
5
Pages
1872–1879
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1172/JCI68107
PMID: 24789879
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Pregnancy presents an immunological conundrum because two genetically different individuals coexist. The maternal lymphocytes at the uterine maternal-fetal interface that can recognize mismatched placental cells are T cells and abundant distinctive uterine NK (uNK) cells. Multiple mechanisms exist that avoid damaging T cell responses to the fetus, whereas activation of uNK cells is probably physiological. Indeed, genetic epidemiological data suggest that the variability of NK cell receptors and their MHC ligands define pregnancy success; however, exactly how uNK cells function in normal and pathological pregnancy is still unclear, and any therapies aimed at suppressing NK cells must be viewed with caution. Allorecognition of fetal placental cells by uNK cells is emerging as the key maternal-fetal immune mechanism that regulates placentation.

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