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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Dec;34(12):3423-33.

Functional involvement of P-selectin and MAdCAM-1 in the recruitment of alpha4beta7-integrin-expressing monocyte-like cells to the pregnant mouse uterus.

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Institute of Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.


Leukocyte recruitment to the pregnant mouse uterus has been suggested to be associated with highly regulated expression of distinct patterns of vascular adhesion receptors. One of the most striking observations is the combined expression of mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1) and P-selectin by maternal vessels of the vascular zone during the critical period of initial placenta development. The predominant cell population within these vessels is of the monocyte/macrophage lineage and expresses the mucosal integrin alpha4beta7, which represents the ligand for MAdCAM-1; neutrophils and lymphocytes are rare. To directly assess the importance of identified adhesion receptors, we undertook long-term in vivo inhibition studies using monoclonal antibodies to inhibit the contribution of MAdCAM-1 in leukocyte trafficking to the decidua or to deplete alpha4beta7(+) leukocytes. In addition, implantation sites of mouse strains genetically deficient in specific adhesion receptors were investigated. Our results underline the importance of predicted adhesion pathways in the recruitment of monocyte-like cells, especially those expressing alpha4beta7. Interestingly, maternal/fetal units with inhibited recruitment of alpha4beta7(+) leukocytes or the absence of these cells are characterized by reduced size and frequency of uterine NK cells.

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