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J Immunol. 1986 Aug 15;137(4):1187-93.

Effect of human syncytiotrophoblast plasma membrane-soluble extracts on in vitro mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation. A possible inhibition mechanism involving the transferrin receptor.


Transferrin (Tf) binding to lymphocytes and to syncytiotrophoblast plasma membranes (STPM) and their soluble extracts (STPM-SE) was examined, as well as the effect of the latter on mitogen-induced lymphoproliferation. Lymphocytes only express Tf receptors (Rtf) after mitogen (phytohemagglutinin or concanavalin A) stimulation, and the percentage of Tf bound by stimulated lymphocytes increased as a function of contact time with the mitogen, reaching a maximum at 72 hr. Studies of Tf binding to STPM-SE showed that the percentage of bound Tf increased proportionally to the protein concentration, but was additionally enhanced by a factor of three when STPM were pretreated with 3 M KCl. Scatchard analysis of Tf binding to lymphocytes cultured for 72 hr in the presence of mitogen, as well as to STPM and STPM-SE, revealed that this binding was specific and occurs via a single category of identical and independent receptors the numbers and affinity constants (Ka) of which have been determined. The results obtained by using STPM indicate that the Ka does not vary significantly from one preparation to another, but that the number of sites per milligram of protein increases by a factor of 10 when the STPM are pretreated with 3 M KCl (KCl-STPM). Finally, STPM-SE inhibited the mitogen-induced lymphoproliferative response whether or not they were treated with 3 M KCl. This inhibition was not due to lymphocytotoxicity, was dose dependent regardless of the preparation used, but was maximized with the KCl-STPM-SE fraction. The correlation between the inhibitory capacities of the soluble STPM extracts and the numbers of RTf sites present on their membranes leads to the hypothesis that the observed inhibition could involve the RTf. This effect may help in protecting the fetus from the maternal immune system at the time of the semi-allogenic fetal graft.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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