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Placenta. 2000 Mar-Apr;21 Suppl A:S81-5.

Recognition of trophoblast HLA class I molecules by decidual NK cell receptors--a review.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, UK.


During placentation the extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells migrate through the decidua towards the maternal spiral arteries. The walls of the arteries are then destroyed by trophoblast resulting in an increased blood flow to the fetus. These EVT express HLA-G, HLA-E and HLA-C, an unusual combination of two non-classical and one classical MHC class I molecules. The decidua is infiltrated by distinctive uterine natural killer (NK) cells during the time of trophoblast invasion. These cells express a variety of receptors (CD94/NKG2, KIR and ILT) which are known to recognize HLA class I molecules. There is, therefore, a mechanism for molecular recognition of the placental trophoblast cells. The possible functional consequences of this uterine NK cell-trophoblast interactions are uncertain. One possible result is in an altered NK cell cytokine profile which modulates the invasive proclivity of the EVT. In this way placentation could be controlled.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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