• interferon-γ;
  • interleukin-10;
  • interleukin-12;
  • interleukin-4;
  • preeclampsia

Problem:  A Th1-shift has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. This study was designed to compare Th1/Th2 related cytokine secretion in blood between women with preeclampsia (n = 15) and normal pregnancies (n = 15), using a high-sensitivity technique for cytokine detection.

Methods of study:  Spontaneous as well as ‘fetus-specific’ and recall antigen-specific (purified protein derivate of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, tetanus toxoid and lipopolysaccharide) secretion of interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10 and IL-12 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot-forming cell assay (ELISPOT). Fetus-specific secretion was induced by stimulation with paternal PBMC in a mixed leukocyte culture assay.

Results:  All cytokines were secreted by PBMCs both from women with preeclampsia and women with normal pregnancies. No differences in the number of cytokine-secreting cells were found between the two groups.

Conclusions:  No evidence was found for a shift in the systemic Th1/Th2 responses, in preeclampsia compared with normal pregnancy. This does, however, not exclude differences in the local immune responses related to the fetoplacental unit.