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Am J Reprod Immunol. 2018 Oct;80(4):e13018. doi: 10.1111/aji.13018. Epub 2018 Jul 9.

Modulatory effect of intravenous immunoglobulin on Th17/Treg cell balance in women with unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion.

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Family Planning Research Institute, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.
Reproductive Immunology Unit, Department of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


Recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) is a growing problem worldwide. In a majority of cases, the cause remains unknown but there is increasing evidence that immunologic factors play an important role. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy has been proposed to have immune modulatory effects and therefore been applicable for the treatment of patients with RSA. Although its efficacy is still controversial, several recent studies suggest that IVIg treatment may improve pregnancy outcomes. CD4+ T cells and their related cytokines play an important role in maternal-fetal immune regulation, and an imbalance of Th17/Treg cell ratio has been proposed as a cause for RSA. We review the scientific evidence supporting a modulatory effect of IVIg on Th17/Treg cell balance and discuss the potential mechanisms how IVIg might enhance Treg cells function. We propose that correction of Th17/Treg cell dysregulation could be one of the mechanisms that can explain the positive therapeutic effects of IVIg therapy. Consequently, selecting patients with abnormal Th17/Treg cell ratios could increase the success of IVIg therapy.


Th17 cell; Treg cell; intravenous immunoglobulin; unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion


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