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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 2000 Jan;223(1):75-81.

Regulation of lymphocyte proliferation by uterine serpin: interleukin-2 mRNA production, CD25 expression and responsiveness to interleukin-2.

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  • 1Department of Dairy, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611, USA.


During pregnancy, the endometrium of the ewe secretes large amounts of a progesterone-induced protein of the serpin superfamily of serine proteinase inhibitors called ovine uterine serpin (OvUS). This protein inhibits lymphocyte proliferation in response to concanavalin A (ConA), phytohemagglutinin (PHA), or mixed lymphocyte reaction. The purpose of these experiments was to characterize the mechanism by which OvUS inhibits lymphocyte proliferation. Ovine US caused dose-dependent inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation induced by phorbol myristol acetate (PMA), an activator of protein kinase C. The PHA-induced increase in CD25 expression was inhibited in peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes (PBML) by OvUS. However, no effect of OvUS on Con A-induced expression of CD25 was observed. Further analysis using two-color flow cytometry revealed that OvUS inhibited ConA-induced expression of CD25 in gammadelta-TCR- cells but not gammadelta-TCR+ cells. Stimulation of PBML for 14 hr with ConA resulted in an increase in steady state amounts of interleukin-2 (IL-2) mRNA that was not inhibited by OvUS. Ovine US was also inhibitory to lymphocyte proliferation induced by human IL-2. Results suggest that OvUS acts to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation by blocking the upregulation of the IL-2 receptor and inhibiting IL-2-mediated events. Lack of an effect of OvUS on ConA-stimulated CD25 expression in gammadelta-TCR+ cells may reflect a different mechanism of activation of these cells or insensitivity to inhibition by OvUS.

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