• Suppressor cells;
  • immunology of abortion;
  • lymphocytes

ABSTRACT: The histopathology of decidua obtained from the placental bed was evaluated by phloxine-tartrazine staining, which allows clear definition of cells with cytoplasmic granules. Mononuclear cells with large granules were seen in biopsy specimens taken from women at 8–31 weeks of normal pregnancy. In contrast, cells with large granules were missing in sections taken from the decidua of five women who were aborting or were destined to abort. Since the presence of suppressor cell activity in murine decidua correlates with the success of pregnancy and since this suppression is associated with small lymphocytes with cytoplasmic granules, the observations made using human placental bed biopsy material suggest that a possible suppressor cell deficiency might occur in the early stages of spontaneous abortion in human females.