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Poly I-C Induces Early Embryo Loss in F344 Rats: a Potential Role for NK Cells


Address reprint requests to Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


Problem:  Natural killer (NK) cells were associated with first trimester embryo loss. The current study in the inbred F344 rat assessed the role of NK cells in mediating resorptions caused by poly I-C, a non-specific immunostimulator.

Method of study:  On fifth day of gestation, rats were injected intraperitoneally with anti-NKR-P1 (1.5 mg/kg, i.p.) to deplete NK cells, and with mouse serum or saline to control for non-specific effects. Poly I-C (4 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle were administered 2 days later. Resorptions were assessed on day 13.5.

Results:  Poly I-C significantly elevated resorption rates, and anti-NKR-P1 abolished this effect. Body weight was reduced in all rats treated with poly I-C, including NK-depleted rats. This indicates the ability of NK-depleted rats to respond to poly I-C, yet to refrain from the resorption-promoting effects of poly I-C.

Conclusions:  This study suggests a role for NK cells in mediating poly I-C-induced resorptions.