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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 Sep;167(3):815-20.

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha selectively stimulates prostaglandin F2 alpha production by macrophages in human term decidua.

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University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, John Radcliffe Hospital, England.



Our objective was to investigate the effect of tumor necrosis factor-alpha on prostaglandin production by human term decidual cell subtypes in vitro.


We measured the effect of tumor necrosis factor-alpha on prostaglandins F2 alpha, E2, D2, F metabolite, and E metabolite production by decidual cells (n = 4) with radioimmunoassay. We used flow cytometry after labeling with an antibody to histocompatibility antigen DR, L243, which is specific for macrophages in this tissue, to prepare pure populations of decidual macrophages (n = 3). Differences in prostaglandin output were analyzed by Wilcoxon and Kruskal-Wallis tests.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha stimulated prostaglandin F2 alpha output by unfractionated decidual cells, without altering the output of any other prostaglandins. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (10 nmol/L) increased prostaglandin F2 alpha production from decidual macrophages (HLA-DR-positive cells) by about threefold: from a median of 727 (range 423 to 1226) to a median of 1974 (range of 1550 to 2201), fmol/10(6) cells per 18 hours, as compared with a 1.4-fold increase from nonmacrophages from a median of 247 fmol/10(6) cells per 18 hours (range 125 to 611) to a median of 340 fmol/10(6) cells per 18 hours (range 201 to 505).


Stimulation of decidual prostaglandin F2 alpha production by tumor necrosis factor-alpha may be important in the etiology of spontaneous labor at term or preterm labor associated with infection.

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