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Mol Hum Reprod. 2001 Feb;7(2):195-200.

Soluble HLA-G influences the release of cytokines from allogeneic peripheral blood mononuclear cells in culture.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8655 Japan.


Exquisitely regulated cytokine balance during early pregnancy is thought to be necessary for promoting survival of the fetal allograft. Our previous studies have demonstrated that membrane-bound human leukocyte antigen (mHLA-G) expressed on trophoblasts is one of the key factors in regulating cytokine balance by shifting the Th1/Th2 balance toward Th2 polarization, a favourable milieu for the maintenance of pregnancy. Given that trophoblasts secrete soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G), we examined its biological roles in comparison with mHLA-G. We cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with either the HLA-A and -B-deficient B lymphoblast cell line (721.221 cells) or the same cell line transfected with mHLA-G (721.221-G1 cells), in the presence or absence of recombinant sHLA-G. Cytokine concentrations in the culture media were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In contrast to mHLA-G protein, sHLA-G stimulated the release of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interferon (IFN)-gamma, whereas it reduced the release of interleukin (IL)-3, regardless of the presence of the presence of a stimulatory effect of the mHLA-G-expressing cells. Although mHLA-G reduced the release of IL-4, sHLA-G did not have any effect. Conversely, sHLA-G stimulated the release of IL-10 whereas mHLA-G was without effect. These results suggest that sHLA-G regulates the release of cytokines from PBMC chiefly by counterbalancing mHLA-G, and thereby may play a role in maintaining pregnancy.

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