Immunological Characterization of Superantigen-induced Intrauterine Fetal and Newborn Death


Eriko Takei, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kitasato 1-15-1, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 228-8555, Japan.



The present study characterizes the immunological responses induced by superantigen and the underlying pathological mechanism using T-cell receptor-transgenic mice (TCR-Tg) to enable the ligand toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) to induce a cytokine storm.

Method of study

Three kinds of pregnant mice which could respond to TSST-1 at various levels were injected with TSST-1 on gestation day 17.5 and then the incidence of fetal/newborn death, production of cytokines including serum interleukin-2 (IL-2) and the histological status of the placenta were examined on day 18.5.


The incidence of fetal/newborn death and the concentrations of cytokines such as IL-2 were higher in TCR-Tg mother than those in other strains of mice. Pathological examinations revealed that the placenta was congestive and apoptotic in TCR-Tg mice.


Superantigen injection into pregnant mice appears to increase the incidence of fetal/newborn death through an IL-2-dependent immunological pathway.