Immunodiagnostic Evaluation in Women with Reproductive Failure


The Center for Human Reproduction, 750 North Orleans Street, Chicago, IL 60610.


Kaider AS, Kaider BD, Janowicz PB, Roussev RG. Immunodiagnostic evaluation in women with reproductive failure. AJRI 1999; 42:335–346 © Munksgaard, Copenhagen

PROBLEM: Several immunological factors have been associated with diagnostic subpopulations of reproductive failure. It is important to determine a trend of immunological abnormalities among these subpopulations. The purpose of this study is to assist in the selection of treatment for patients suspected of having specific diagnoses of reproductive failure.

METHOD OF STUDY: Blood samples from 591 patients were evaluated for the presence of antiphospholipid (APA), antinuclear (ANA), and antithyroid (ATA) antibodies, as well as for lupus anticoagulant (LA), embryotoxic factors (ETF), and elevated levels of natural killer (NK) (CD56+) cells, and all tests were performed as a panel. The patients were grouped into the following diagnostic categories: recurrent pregnancy loss (n = 302), IVF/ET failure (IVFf, n = 122), unexplained infertility (n = 97), ovarian dysfunction (n = 47), and endometriosis (n = 23). The thresholds for positivity and the prevalence of the tested factors among normal healthy populations have been established by testing 100 or more healthy male and female individuals with each one of the tests used (general population control). All tests as panel were performed on 20 normal fertile female individuals as controls (fertile female controls).

RESULTS: Of all patients with reproductive failure, 75.6% had at least one abnormal test. The most frequent abnormal result was found to be the elevation of NK (CD56+) cells (37%), followed by ANA (34%), APA (24%), ATA (19%), and ETF (11%). Of the recurrent pregnancy loss patients, 74.2% had at least one positive abnormal result from all of the tests performed; overall, 70% of women with IVF failure had at least one abnormal test; of patients diagnosed with unexplained infertility, approximately 81% had at least one abnormal result; 74.4% of the patients with ovarian dysfunction and 52% of the patients with endometriosis had at least one abnormal result. From normal fertile controls, 10% showed at least one abnormal test result.

CONCLUSION: APA, ANA, ATA, ETF, and elevated NK (CD56+) cells are significantly more prevalent among women experiencing reproductive failure than among the control group and normal healthy individuals.