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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Nov 23;7:132. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-7-132.

Specific subsets of immune cells in human decidua differ between normal pregnancy and preeclampsia--a prospective observational study.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str, 4, D-97080 Würzburg, Germany.



Changes in the balance of decidual leucocyte populations may lead to an unfavourable uterine microenvironment which may be associated with the development of preeclampsia (PE). In this study, we therefore investigated the leucocyte subpopulations in decidual tissues of 33 women with preeclampsia and 66 control patients.


Decidua was either obtained via curettage during cesarean section or dissected from the surface of the basal plate of the placenta after spontaneous delivery. We used FACS analysis to quantify decidual leukocytes (CD45), NK cells (CD56+/CD16+ and CD56++/CD16-), antigen presenting cells (HLA-DR, DC-Sign, CD14) and T/B cells (CD8, CD4, alpha-beta-T-cell receptor, gamma-delta-T-cell receptor, CD25, CD19).


The number of decidual cytotoxic CD8+T-lymphocytes (P < 0.02), alpha-beta -T-cell receptor positive T cells (P < 0.03) and of CD56+/CD16+ NK cells (P < 0.03) was lower in decidua from women with PE than in decidua from control patients.


The observed reduction of specific leucocyte subsets could create a microenvironment which is unfavourable for an appropriate placentation and could thereby be involved in the development of preeclamptic symptoms.

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