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Am J Reprod Immunol Microbiol. 1988 Oct;18(2):52-5.

Changes of lymphocyte subsets in normal pregnant and postpartum women: postpartum increase in NK/K (Leu 7) cells.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


Changes in lymphocyte subsets in whole blood of normal pregnant and postpartum women were examined by flow cytometry with an automated leukocyte differential system. From the first trimester and throughout pregnancy, the absolute counts of T(CD3) and B(CD20) and T-cell subsets (CD4, CD8) decreased with a decrease in the absolute lymphocyte count, although the proportions of these cells remained unchanged except for a decrease in the percentage of T helper-inducer (CD4) cells in the first trimester. On the contrary, the percentage of NK/K (Leu 7) cells, but not of NK/K (CD16) cells, increased in the first trimester and then both gradually decreased in the second and third trimesters. In the postpartum period, the percentages and absolute counts of T(CD3) and NK/K (Leu 7) cells, but not of other cells, increased transiently. These changes of lymphocyte subsets may indicate suppression of immunological activity during pregnancy and its "increase" in the postpartum period.

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