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J Immunol. 2002 Jan 1;168(1):22-8.

Contributions from self-renewal and trafficking to the uterine NK cell population of early pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Building No.40, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1. schantak@uoguelph.ca

Abstract

Uterine NK (uNK) cells are abundant in human and murine uteri during decidualization. It is unclear whether precursors of uNK (pre-uNK) cells self-renew or are recruited from other sites. To assess self-renewal of pre-uNK cells, uterine segments from NK cell-competent mice were grafted orthotopically into NK/uNK cell-deficient or wild-type mice. Only in wild-type recipients did decidualized grafts contain uNK cells, indicating that pre-uNK cells do not self-renew in uterus. To identify pre-uNK cell sources, thymus, bone marrow, lymph node, or spleen cells were grafted from virgin or pregnant NK cell-competent donors into mated NK/uNK cell-deficient recipients. Cells from secondary lymphoid tissues of pregnant donors gave high level uNK cell reconstitution, which was independent of chemokine receptors CCR2 or CCR5. Pregnancy-induced changes to lymphocyte-endothelial cell interactions were documented using adhesion of human lymphocytes to frozen mouse tissue sections under shear. A dynamic increase was observed in L-selectin- and alpha(4) integrin-dependent adhesion of CD56(bright) NK cells to decidualizing uterus and in human PBL adhesion to lymph node endothelium. These data support a model that attributes the dramatic increases in human and murine uNK cells during decidualization to precursor cell recruitment.

PMID:
11751942
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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