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Keywords:

  • Apoptosis;
  • caspase3;
  • signal transduction and activation of transcription 3;
  • thymic stromal lymphopoietin;
  • γδ T cells

Problem

To investigate whether thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) regulates the apoptosis of decidual γδ T cells and to elucidate the mechanism.

Method of study

Primary human decidual γδ T cells were treated with TSLP only or TSLP combined with different signaling inhibitors (STAT3, STAT5, AKT, and ERK). The levels of signal transduction and activation of transcription 3 (STAT3) tyrosine phosphorylation and caspase3 expression were determined using Western blot analysis, and the apoptosis of decidual γδ T cells was analyzed by flow cytometry.

Results

The proportions of γδ T cells in the peripheral circulation and in decidual CD3+ cell population in women with normal pregnancy were higher than the proportions of γδ T cells in either non-pregnant control or miscarriage. Decidual γδ T cells co-expressed the TSLP receptors (TSLPR) and IL-7Rα, and the expression of TSLPR in decidual γδ T cells was higher than that in decidual CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Treatment with TSLP significantly suppressed the apoptosis of decidual γδ T cells and enhanced STAT3 phosphorylation. Moreover, STAT3, and not other inhibitors, completely abrogated the anti-apoptotic effect and expression of caspase3 in decidual γδ T cells induced by recombinant human TSLP.

Conclusion

These results suggest that TSLP may down-regulate caspase3 expression through activation of the STAT3 pathway, thereby suppressing the apoptosis of decidual γδ T cells.