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Mol Hum Reprod. 2013 Jan;19(1):43-53. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gas043. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

Galectin-1 influences trophoblast immune evasion and emerges as a predictive factor for the outcome of pregnancy.

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Charité Center 12 Internal Medicine and Dermatology, Reproductive Medicine Research Group, Medicine University Berlin, BMFZ, Raum 2.0547, AugustenburgerPlatz 1, D-13353 Berlin, Germany.


Galectin-1 (gal-1) is expressed at the feto-maternal interface and plays a role in regulating the maternal immune response against placental alloantigens, contributing to pregnancy maintenance. Both decidua and placenta contribute to gal-1 expression and may be important for the maternal immune regulation. The expression of gal-1 within the placenta is considered relevant to cell-adhesion and invasion of trophoblasts, but the role of gal-1 in the immune evasion machinery exhibited by trophoblast cells remains to be elucidated. In this study, we analyzed gal-1 expression in preimplantation human embryos and first-trimester decidua-placenta specimens and serum gal-1 levels to investigate the physiological role played by this lectin during pregnancy. The effect on human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) expression in response to stimulation or silencing of gal-1 was also determined in the human invasive, proliferative extravillous cytotrophoblast 65 (HIPEC65) cell line. Compared with normal pregnant women, circulating gal-1 levels were significantly decreased in patients who subsequently suffered a miscarriage. Human embryos undergoing preimplantation development expressed gal-1 on the trophectoderm and inner cell mass. Furthermore, our in vitro experiments showed that exogenous gal-1 positively regulated the membrane-bound HLA-G isoforms (HLA-G1 and G2) in HIPEC65 cells, whereas endogenous gal-1 also induced expression of the soluble isoforms (HLA-G5 and -G6). Our results suggest that gal-1 plays a key role in pregnancy maternal immune regulation by modulating HLA-G expression on trophoblast cells. Circulating gal-1 levels could serve as a predictive factor for pregnancy success in early human gestation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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