A novel surface molecule of Th2- and Tc2-type cells, CRTH2 expression on human peripheral and decidual CD4+ and CD8+ T cells during the early stage of pregnancy


Shigeru Saito MD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani Toyama-shi, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.  E-mail: s30saito@ms.toyama-mpu.ac.jp


It has been demonstrated that pregnancy induces the immunomodulation of cytokine responses away from the Th1 paradigm and towards the Th2 paradigm. In this study, we examined the expression of CRTH2 (chemoattractant receptor-homologous molecule expressed on Th2) on decidual CD4+ and CD8+ T cells during the early stages of pregnancy. Examination of the cytokine profile revealed that CRTH2 was expressed on CD4+-type-2 T helper (Th2-type) and CD8+-type 2 T cytotoxic (Tc2-type) cells. The percentages of CRTH2+ cells in CD3+/CD4+ T cells and CD3+/CD8+ T cells were significantly higher in the decidua than in the peripheral blood. These results indicate the significance of Th2- and Tc2-type cells of the decidua in the maternal immune system, presumably through their production of cytokines which may contribute to the maintenance of pregnancy.