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J Immunol. 1992 Mar 15;148(6):1699-705.

Activation and distribution of inflammatory cells in the mouse uterus during the preimplantation period.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Ralph L. Smith Research Center, Kansas City 66103.


Northern blot analysis of mouse uterine RNA showed that IL-1 (alpha and beta), and TNF-alpha mRNA were abundant on day (D) 1 of pregnancy, reduced on D2, and remained basal throughout the remainder of the preimplantation period (D3 and D4). Elevated IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha mRNA levels on D1 were accompanied by increased levels of immunoreactive protein in uterine cytosol preparations as determined by ELISA. In situ hybridization detected IL-1 beta mRNA in cells located in the endometrial stroma and concentrated in subepithelial regions on D1. Immunocytochemical localization of IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha identified cells scattered throughout the endometrial stroma, but more concentrated in the subepithelial region on D1. On D3 and D4, cytokine-immunopositive cells decreased in number and became located predominantly at the endometrial-myometrial junction. Histochemical localization of peroxidase as a marker predominantly for eosinophils showed an abundance of these cells in the D1 uterus. The distribution of peroxidase-positive cells in the uterus followed the same temporal and spatial changes as cytokine-immunopositive cells during the preimplantation period. These data document the occurrence of an inflammatory response in the uterus on D1 of pregnancy, and demonstrate that as the preimplantation period progresses the distribution of inflammatory cells changes from the subepithelial region of the endometrial stroma to the periphery of the uterus at the endometrial-myometrial junction. Mechanisms regulating the uterine inflammatory response on D1 were investigated. Cytokine mRNA levels were not significantly elevated during the estrous cycle or after treatment of adult ovariectomized mice with estradiol-17 beta. In contrast, mating with vasectomized males resulted in an inflammatory response on D1 of pseudopregnancy similar to that on D1 of normal pregnancy, whereas mechanical stimulation of the uterine cervix failed to elicit such a response. These results strongly suggest a role for some factor(s) in the ejaculate, other than spermatozoa, in the initiation of a uterine inflammatory response after mating, but an effect of the act of mating cannot be excluded.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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