PROBLEM: Natural killer (NK)-cell cytotoxicity in women undergoing lymphocyte immunization prior to and following treatment was investigated.
METHOD OF STUDY: A cohort of 33 women with a history of two or more recurrent spontaneous abortions was prospectively studied. NK-cell cytotoxicity was determined at effector-to-target ratios of 50:1 and 25:1. Peripheral blood CD56+ NK-cell, CD 19+ B-cell, CD19+/5+ B-l-cell, and CD3+ pan T-cell levels were studied by flow cytometry before and after lymphocyte immunization treatment. Maternal antipaternal T- and B-cell antibody levels were measured before and after lymphocyte immunization by flow cytometric analysis. Paternal lymphocyte immunizations were given two times with a 4-week interval. Post-lymphocyte immunization testing was done 4 weeks after the second lymphocyte immunization. The controls were 8 normal healthy women. NK assays were done twice with an interval of 8 weeks.
RESULTS: NK-cell activity at effector-to-target ratios of 50:1 (P = 0.005) and 25:1 (P = 0.001) were significantly suppressed after lymphocyte immunization. CD3+ pan T-cell levels after lymphocyte immunization were significantly increased compared with levels before lymphocyte immunization (P = 0.008). CD56+ NK-cell levels were significantly suppressed after lymphocyte immunization (P = 0.016). There was no correlation between changes in NK cytotoxicity and differences in antipaternal lymphocyte antibody levels before or after lymphocyte immunization.
CONCLUSION: Lymphocyte immunization suppresses NK-cell cytotoxicity and CD56+ NK-cell levels and increases the peripheral blood CD3+ T-cell population in women with recurrent spontaneous abortions.