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J Reprod Immunol. 2008 Jul;78(2):125-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2008.03.005. Epub 2008 May 19.

Expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase in the rhesus monkey and common marmoset.

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  • 1Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53715, USA.


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) catalyzes the initial and rate-limiting step of tryptophan degradation along the kynurenine pathway, and is hypothesized to limit tryptophan availability at embryo implantation and prevent maternal T cell activation at the maternal-fetal interface. To determine if nonhuman primates are suitable models for investigating the role of IDO during pregnancy, we defined the expression of IDO in the rhesus monkey and common marmoset with particular attention to the female reproductive tract and placenta. IDO mRNA was detected by RT-PCR in the rhesus monkey term placenta, lung, small intestine, spleen, lymph node and nonpregnant uterus, and also in the common marmoset placenta. Immunohistochemical analysis of rhesus monkey tissues localized IDO to glandular epithelium of nonpregnant endometrium and first trimester decidua, vessel endothelium of nonpregnant myometrium, first trimester decidua and term decidua, and villous vessel endothelium and syncytiotrophoblast of term placenta. Western blot analysis confirmed IDO in rhesus monkey term placenta. In the common marmoset, IDO was detected in glandular epithelium of the nonpregnant uterus and in the decidua at day 60 and day 128 of gestation. IDO activity was higher in rhesus monkey and common marmoset decidua and placentas than in other tissues. Confirmation of IDO expression in rhesus monkey and common marmoset uterine and placental tissues supports the hypothesis that this enzyme regulates immune activation at the maternal-fetal interface and demonstrates that nonhuman primates may provide models with distinct similarities to human placentation to study the role of IDO in maternal-fetal immune dialogue.

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