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Treg Cells Are Negatively Correlated with Increased Memory B Cells in Pre-eclampsia While Maintaining Suppressive Function on Autologous B-Cell Proliferation

Authors

  • Bin Zeng,

    1. Family Planning Research Institute, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
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  • Joanne Kwak-Kim,

    1. Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin, University of Medicine and Science, Vernon Hills, IL, USA
    2. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin, University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL, USA
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  • Ying Liu,

    1. Family Planning Research Institute, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
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  • Ai-Hua Liao

    Corresponding author
    1. Family Planning Research Institute, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
    • Correspondence

      Ai-Hua Liao, Family Planning Research Institute, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 13 Hangkong Road, 430030 Wuhan, China.

      E-mail: aihualiao@hotmail.com

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Abstract

Problem

The objective of this study was to determine the simultaneous changes and the correlation between circulating regulatory T (Tregs) and B-cell subsets in normal pregnancy (NP) and pre-eclampsia (PE). Meanwhile, the regulatory function of Tregs on B-cell proliferation was evaluated in vitro.

Method of study

A total of 32 PE and 40 NP women matched for age, gestational age, and parity were included. Using flow cytometry, the percentages of peripheral blood Tregs and B-cell subsets were determined. Moreover, the regulatory function of Tregs on autologous B-cell proliferation in PE and NP was investigated in vitro by flow cytometry and analyzed by modfit software.

Results

The proportions (%) of CD4+ Foxp3+ (< 0.001) and CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ (< 0.01) cells within total CD4+ T cells were significantly decreased in PE as compared to those of NP. However, no difference was found in CD4+ CD25+ cells in CD4+ T cell population. CD19+ CD27+ (< 0.05) and CD19+ CD27+ IgD+ (< 0.01) B cells within CD19+ B cells (%) in PE were higher than those of NP. Negative correlations between the percentage of CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ in CD4+ T cells and that of CD19+ CD27+ (= −0.384, < 0.05) and CD19+ CD27+ IgD+ (= −0.402, < 0.05) in CD19+ B cells were present in PE but not in NP. Furthermore, the in vitro study demonstrated a significant increase in B-cell proliferation in PE as compared to NP. Tregs in PE were able to suppress the proliferation and precursor frequency of autologous B cells (< 0.05 each).

Conclusion

The study indicates that a negative correlation between Tregs and memory B cells is present in women with PE, characterized by a systemic decrease in Tregs and an increase in memory B cells. Although the quantitative deficit of Tregs is present in PE, the Tregs still have a suppressive role in autologous B-cell proliferation.

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