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Crit Rev Immunol. 1994;14(3-4):239-92.

The role of cytokines in gestation.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, South Australia.


Lymphohemopoietic cytokines are now recognized to be central participants in the cellular communication events underlying the complex and dynamic remodeling processes required to accommodate the semiallogeneic conceptus during mammalian reproduction. Cytokines are identified to be particular importance in mediating communications between the conceptus and maternal cells, particularly the uterine epithelium and infiltrating leukocytes, both prior to implantation and as the placenta develops. In this review we summarize recent experimental data concerning the synthesis of various cytokines in uterine and conceptus-derived tissues and highlight current hypotheses for their roles in establishing and maintaining successful pregnancy. It is concluded that complex and finely balanced cytokine networks underpin precise regulatory mechanisms controlling the rate and degree of conceptus development and invasion into maternal tissues.

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