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Fertil Steril. 2005 Mar;83(3):598-605.

Role of the endometrial tripod interleukin-18, -15, and -12 in inadequate uterine receptivity in patients with a history of repeated in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer failure.

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Institut National de Santé et Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U131, Equipe cytokines et relation materno-foetale, et Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique, Hôpital Antoine Béclère (AP-HP), Clamart, France.



To document in the endometrium the correlation among the interleukin (IL)-12, -15, and -18 mRNA and the correlation between cytokine levels, vascular status, and endometrial natural killer (NK) cell count in the context of recurrent implantation failure.


A pilot study.


Department of Reproductive Immunology.


Women who failed to become pregnant after repeated IVF-embryo transfer and fertile control subjects.


Ultrasonic evaluation and endometrial biopsy in luteal phase.


Uterine artery Doppler, count of uterine CD56 bright cells/field, and quantification by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to monitor IL-12 family (IL-12p40, IL-12p35, EBI3, IL-23), the IL-18 system (IL-18, IL-18R, IL18BP), and the IL-15 mRNA ratio.


The uterine artery Doppler and the CD56 bright cell counts were significantly different in fertile and infertile patients. The mean uterine artery pulsatility index correlated significantly negatively with the IL-18/actin ratio suggesting a defect of the cytokine-dependent vascular remodeling pathway. The number of uterine CD56 bright cells was significantly correlated with the IL-15/actin and IL-18/IL-18BP ratios. Thus, IL-18 and IL-15 seems to be involved in the local recruitment and the activation of uterine natural killer (uNK) cells. IL-18 was itself correlated with IL-15 and IL-12, suggesting a local control of uNK cells activation.


The assessment of the tripod IL-12/-15/-18 shows distinct immune-related mechanisms that are involved in the broader context of inadequate uterine receptivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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