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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Jan;10(1):37-50. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2013.212. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Endocrine autoimmune diseases and female infertility.

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The Center for Human Reproduction (CHR), 21 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.


An increasing body of evidence suggests that immune-mediated processes affect female reproductive success at multiple levels. Crosstalk between endocrine and immune systems regulates a large number of biological processes that affect target tissues, and this crosstalk involves gene expression, cytokine and/or lymphokine release and hormone action. In addition, endocrine-immune interactions have a major role in the implantation process of the fetal (paternally derived) semi-allograft, which requires a reprogramming process of the maternal immune system from rejection to temporary tolerance for the length of gestation. Usually, the female immune system is supportive of all of these processes and, therefore, facilitates reproductive success. Abnormalities of the female immune system, including autoimmunity, potentially interfere at multiple levels. The relevance of the immune system to female infertility is increasingly recognized by investigators, but clinically is often not adequately considered and is, therefore, underestimated. This Review summarizes the effect of individual autoimmune endocrine diseases on female fertility, and points towards selected developments expected in the near future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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