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Am J Reprod Immunol. 2003 Sep;50(3):187-95.

Placental trophoblast from successful human pregnancies expresses the tolerance signaling molecule, CD200 (OX-2).

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Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



Th1 cytokine-dependent abortions in the CBA x DBA/2 mouse model have been linked to down-regulation of expression of the CD200 (OX-2) 'tolerance' signal on trophoblast and in decidua prior to onset of the abortion process. Abortions could be prevented by administration of a soluble CD200. Is CD200 expressed on trophoblast in successful human pregnancy?


As one cannot easily obtain trophoblasts in large quantities from successful human pregnancies in the first trimester prior to the onset of the abortion process at 6 weeks gestation, we examined as a first step, trophoblast isolated from term placentae (i.e. successful pregnancies). CD9- trophoblasts were isolated by affinity column and stained for intracellular cytokeratin, and surface CD200 using PE-anti-human CD200 monoclonal antibody. mRNA was extracted from CD9+ and CD9- cells and tested by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for CD200 mRNA. CD9- placental cells were separated by velocity sedimentation and test for CD200-dependent suppression of an allogeneic human mixed lymphocyte culture where cytotoxic T cell (CTL) generation, and Thl --> Th2 cytokine production shift were measured.


CD9- but not CD9+ placental cell populations contained cells with mRNA for CD200, both a normal length transcript and a truncated transcript. Flow cytometry showed a CD200+ cytokeratin+ moderate-to-large-sized cell population compatible with trophoblasts and a smaller subset of cytokeratin- cells that expressed CD200 at normal and at high levels. The moderate-sized population proved most potent at inhibiting CTL generation and caused a Th1 --> Th2 cytokine shift. These effects were blocked by monoclonal anti-CD200.


A subpopulation of cytokeratin+ placental trophoblasts express bioactive CD200 able to alter maternal immune responses in a favorable (Th2 > Th1) direction. Two populations of CD200+ small- and medium-small-sized cytokeratin- placental cells remain to be identified. Studies of karyotyped first trimester elective termination and spontaneous miscarriage tissues are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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