Analysis of Macrophage Presence in Murine Placenta: Influence of Age and Parity Status


Address reprint requests to S. Miranda, Junín 956, 4P, Capital Federal (1113) – Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Problem:  Beneficial effects of multiparity status have been previously reported by different authors. However, this fact has not been fully explained. Taking into consideration the influence of the parity status on the in vitro asymmetric/protective antibodies and the fact that interleukin-6 (IL-6) is involved in the production and immune-regulatory functions of placental macrophages, the aim of this work was to compare the placental IL-6 production and tissue macrophage presence in mice with different age and parity status.

Method of study:  Three groups of mice (CBA/J × CBA/J) were analyzed: primiparous young (PY: 3.0 ± 0.5 months old), primiparous old (PO: 8.5 ± 0.5 months old), and multiparous old (MO: 8.5 ± 0.5 months old, with three to four previous pregnancies). Macrophage and IL-6 were identified in placental tissue by immunohistochemistry employing anti-F4/80 or anti-IL-6 antibodies. IL-6 secretion was analyzed in the placental culture supernatants by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results:  The results obtained indicate that, despite the level of macrophages observed in the PO placentae was higher than in PY ones, their expression in MO placentae was very much increased, appearing like a thick layer between decidua and trophoblast. However, no significant difference was found among the groups in the tissue expression of IL-6 and in IL-6 secreted in vitro.

Conclusions:  Our data indicate that parity status influences the number of local macrophages and might provide evidence that could explain the known beneficial effect of multipaternity. We suggest that the number of previous pregnancies favor the production of a ‘protective’ population of macrophages.