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Dominant IL-10 and TGF-β mRNA Expression in γδT Cells of Human Early Pregnancy Decidua Suggests Immunoregulatory Potential


Lucia Mincheva-Nilsson MD, PhD Department of Clinical Immunology, Umeå University, S-90185 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail:


PROBLEM: To examine the cytokine gene expression in γδT-cells from human early pregnancy decidua.

METHOD OF STUDY: The cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in isolated decidual T-cell receptor (TCR)γδ+/CD56+ and TCRγδ single positive cells was investigated with a panel of cytokine primers and probes selected to distinguish between T helper (Th)1, Th2, Th3 and regulatory T-cells (Tr1) type of immune response using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

RESULTS: TCRγδ+/CD56+ cells express almost exclusively the immunosuppressive cytokines interleukin-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. The TCRγδ single positive cells enhance their transcription of IL-10 and TGF-β, compared with the TCRγδ+/CD56+ cells and additionally express mRNA for IL-1β and IL-6.

CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest that γδT cells in normal pregnancy create a cytokine milieu promoting immunotolerance to the fetus. We hypothesize that through the production of the immunosuppressive cytokines IL-10 and/or TGF-β the γδT cells could function directly as regulatory T cells or induce the differentiation of Th0 TCRαβ+ cells into regulatory/suppresser cells.