Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Pathol. 2013 Dec;183(6):1853-1861. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.08.023. Epub 2013 Oct 6.

Decidual natural killer cell interactions with trophoblasts are impaired in pregnancies at increased risk of preeclampsia.

Author information

Division of Biomedical Sciences, St. George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom.
Division of Biomedical Sciences, St. George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


Transformation of the uterine spiral arteries (SAs) during pregnancy is critical to support the developing fetus, and is impaired in some pregnancy disorders, including preeclampsia. Decidual natural killer (dNK) cells play a role in SA remodeling, although their interactions with fetal trophoblast remain unclear. A uterine artery Doppler resistance index (RI) in the first trimester of pregnancy can be used as a proxy measure of the extent of SA remodeling; we have used this technique to characterize dNK cells from pregnancies with normal (normal RI) and impaired (high RI) SA remodeling, which display least and highest risk of developing preeclampsia, respectively. We examined the impact of dNK cell secreted factors on trophoblast motility, chemoattraction, and signaling pathways to determine the contribution of dNK cells to SA transformation. We demonstrated that the chemoattraction of the trophoblast by dNK cells is impaired in pregnancies with high RI, as is the ability to induce trophoblast outgrowth from placental villous explants. These processes are dependent on activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt signaling pathways, which were altered in trophoblasts incubated with secreted factors from dNK cells from high RI pregnancies. Therefore, by characterizing pregnancies using uterine artery Doppler RI before dNK cell isolation, we have identified that impaired dNK-trophoblast interactions may lead to poor placentation. These findings have implications for pregnancy pathological conditions, such as preeclampsia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center