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Keywords:

  • antigen-presenting cells;
  • costimulatory molecules;
  • pregnancy;
  • spleen

Problem

The object of the study was to investigate the costimulatory phenotype of spleen antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in mice after mating and the influence of costimulatory signal blocking on pregnancy outcome, cytokine production, and Treg cell concentration.

Method of study

The levels of CD40, CD80, and CD86 on spleen APCs at day 0.5 and 3.5 after mating (C57BL/6Jx DBA/2J and C57BL/6JxBalb/c) were assessed by flow cytometry and RT-PCR. Blocking antibodies against costimulatory molecules were given i.p. at day 3.5 after mating. Pregnancy outcomes, blood cytokine (ELISA), and spleen Treg (flow cytometry) concentrations were examined at day 10.5 after mating.

Results

Differential expression of costimulatory molecules on spleen APCs of mated v. pseudopregnant mice was observed mainly at day 3.5 after conception. Administration of anti-CD86 antibody lowered pregnancy outcome. Cytokine expression was modulated after administration of anti-CD86, anti-CD80 and anti-CD40 antibodies, whereas only anti-CD40 antibody changed the concentration of Treg lymphocytes and the level of Foxp3 protein expression.

Conclusion

Costimulatory phenotype of female spleen APCs is distinctly modulated after mating. Alteration of costimulatory signal derived from APCs during pre-implantation period of pregnancy may have an adverse effect on pregnancy outcome and the tolerogenic immune response.