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Biol Reprod. 2008 Sep;79(3):562-9. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.107.066324. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Expression and function of PDCD1 at the human maternal-fetal interface.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.


The failure to reject the semiallogenic fetus by maternal T lymphocytes suggests that potent mechanisms regulate these cells. PDCD1 is a CD28 family receptor expressed by T cells, and its ligand CD274 is strongly expressed by trophoblast cells of the human placenta. In this study, we examined whether human maternal T cells express PDCD1. Immunofluorescence examination of uterine tissues revealed PDCD1 expression on CD3+ cells was low in nonpregnant endometrium but increased in first-trimester decidua and remained elevated in term decidua (P < 0.05). In addition, higher relative proportions of term decidual CD8 bright, CD4+, and regulatory T cells expressed PDCD1 in comparison to autologous peripheral blood (P < 0.05). Term decidual T cells also expressed full-length and soluble PDCD1 mRNA isoforms more abundantly than their peripheral blood counterparts (P <or= 0.05). We also examined the effects of PDCD1:CD274 interactions in decidual T cells. Jar choriocarcinoma cells were transfected with CD274 and cocultured with activated decidual CD4+ or CD8 bright T cells for 72 h followed by analysis of cytokine concentration and decidual T cell apoptosis. Compared with empty vector-transfected cells, CD274-transfected Jar cells caused a significant suppression of interferon gamma and tumor necrosis factor alpha production by CD4+ (P < 0.05) but not CD8 bright T cells, while having no effect on secretion of IL10 or T cell apoptosis. These results suggest that the PDCD1:CD274 pathway functions in modification of maternal decidual lymphocyte cytokine secretion during pregnancy.

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