Problem: Changes in distribution or redistribution of immune cells are required for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy, but these changes during early pregnancy have been poorly understood in the ruminant ungulates. Expression of a chemokine, interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-inducible protein 10 kDa (IP-10, CXCL10), was identified in the endometrium of pregnant goats. Population and/or distribution of endometrial immune cells and their cytokine productions could be regulated by IP-10 during the period of pregnancy establishment.
Method of study: Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), expression of IP-10, IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10 (IL-10), CXCR3 mRNA and leukocyte cell surface markers, CD4, CD8, CD11b and CD45 mRNA during the caprine early pregnancy was investigated. The ability of IP-10 to stimulate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) migration was demonstrated using a chemotaxis assay. Changes in migration of PBMCs’ immune cell population and cytokine expressions with IP-10 stimulation were investigated using flow cytometry and RT-PCR respectively.
Results: Levels of IP-10, IL-10, CD4 and CD11b mRNA, and the number of CD4 and CD11b positive cells in pregnant goat endometrium were higher than those of cyclic goat endometrium. Migration of PBMCs was stimulated by recombinant caprine IP-10, and the effect was significantly reduced by neutralization with the use of an anti-IP-10 antibody. In the flow cytometric and RT-PCR analyses, migrated cells stimulated by IP-10 increased the expression of IL-10 and CD11b mRNA. Furthermore, IP-10 could stimulate the expression of IL-10 mRNA from PBMCs.
Conclusion: Endometrial chemokine IP-10 could regulate IL-10 production by resident and possibly migrated cells expressing CD11b, probably natural killer cells, and these changes may result in immune environments of the uterus suitable for conceptus implantation in ruminants.