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J Reprod Immunol. 2004 Dec;64(1-2):145-55.

Expression of interleukin-11 receptor alpha and interleukin-11 protein in the endometrium of normal fertile women and women with recurrent miscarriage.

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  • 1BMRC, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK.


Interleukin-11 (IL-11) is a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines. Previous studies have suggested that IL-11 may play a role in human endometrial function. In this study, we have used immunocytochemistry to compare endometrial IL-11Ralpha and IL-11 expression in precisely timed peri-implantation biopsies from 9 normal fertile women and 16 recurrent miscarriage (RM) women. Immunocytochemistry was semi-quantified by obtaining an H-score value, which showed increased expression of both IL-11 and IL-11Ralpha in epithelial cells compared to stromal cells in all biopsies. There was a significant (P<0.01) reduction in epithelial cell IL-11, but not stromal cell IL-11, expression in endometrium from RM women compared to normal fertile women. There were no significant differences in expression of IL-11Ralpha protein in both stromal and epithelial cells in endometrium from the two groups of women. This work shows the presence of IL-11 and IL-11Ralpha within the endometrium of RM women during the peri-implantation period. The decreased expression of IL-11 in epithelial endometrium in RM women suggests that this cytokine may play a role in preventing miscarriage.

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