• Human decidua;
  • early pregnancy;
  • decidual lymphocytes;
  • flow cytometry

PROBLEM: There is increasing evidence that decidual lymphocytes play a major role in local interactions at the fetomaternal interface.

METHOD: In this paper we use two-color flow cytometry to delineate the phenotype of lymphocytes obtained from human early decidua by mechanical dispersal technique.

RESULTS: The most abundant decidual lymphocytes expressed CD7, CD38, CD56, and CD2 markers, relatively small proportions of CD3 +, CD8 +, CD4 +, CD16 +, CD45RA+, CD11b+, and Leu8+ cells were also present. The vast majority of decidual CD7+ lymphocytes expressed CD38, CD2, and CD56 markers and were CD3 , CD8 , CD 16 , and CD57 . Decidual CD3+ lymphocytes were weakly staining for TCR α/β, lacked T-cell receptor (TCR) γ/δ molecules, and ∼40% of them expressed HLA-DR. All decidual CD8+ lymphocytes were CD2+ and the majority of them expressed CD38, CD56, and CD7 markers and were CD3at the same time CD8 + CD7 lymphocytes were found in decidua. According to the expression of the CD45RA marker, decidual CD8 + lymphocytes could be divided into two subsets: CD8 + CD45RA + CD56 + and CD8 + CD45RA .

CONCLUSIONS: These data clearly demonstrate that decidual lymphocytes display phenotypical features different from those of their counterparts in peripheral blood.