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Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2010 Dec;39(3):166-75. doi: 10.1007/s12016-009-8184-4.

NK cells, autoantibodies, and immunologic infertility: a complex interplay.

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  • 1Gynaecology and Obstetrics II, Azienda Ospedaliera San Giovanni-Addolorata, Via dell' Amba Aradam 9, 00184 Rome, Italy. caterina.decarolis@fastwebnet.it

Abstract

Infertility and recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) are heterogeneous conditions that have been frequently explained with an immunological pathomechanism. A deeper insight into apparently unexplained infertility and RSA shows increasing evidences supporting both alloimmune and autoimmune mechanisms, in which natural killer (NK) cells and autoantibodies seem to play a relevant role. Successful pregnancy is considered as Th1-Th2 cooperation phenomenon, with a predominantly Th2-type lymphocytes response, together with the emerging role of interleukin (IL)-12, IL-15, and IL-18 and of other unidentified soluble factors dependent on NK cells. Uterine NK cells comprise the largest population at implantation site, and their activity, characteristics, and abundance suggest that they participate at the "decidualization" process that, vice versa, induces NK activation and recruitment in each menstrual cycle. However, NK cell alteration may be associated with impaired pregnancy, and the modulation in the number of circulating NK cells is most likely to be a primary event rather than an active inflammation/drug administration consequence during an inflammatory/autoimmune process, thus playing an important role in the pathogenesis of immunological infertility. Relationships within immunological infertility, recurrent spontaneous abortion, autoantibodies, and NK cells will be reviewed herein.

PMID:
19908167
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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