The Relationship of Systemic TNF-α and IFN-γ with IVF Treatment Outcome and Peripheral Blood NK Cells

Authors


M. Y. Thum, 16 Calder Court, 253 Rotherhithe Street, London, SE16 5FX, UK. E-mail: mythum@doctors.net.uk

Abstract

Background

To evaluate the association of serum tumour necrotic factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ levels with IVF treatment outcome and peripheral blood NK cells.

Methods

Prospective observational study of 126 randomly selected women who underwent IVF treatment. The serum levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ were determined by multiplex suspension beads array system.

Results

There were no significant differences with regard to the systemic TNF-α and IFN-γ levels between the pregnant (n = 51, TNF-α: 53.5 pg/mL; IFN-γ: 4.6 pg/mL) and not pregnant (n = 75, TNF-α: 63.0; IFN-γ: 7.5) women after IVF treatment. For those women with a positive pregnancy after IVF treatment, the systemic TNF-α and IFN-γ levels were higher in those women who miscarried (n = 13, TNF-α: 67.4; IFN-γ: 9.1) when compared with those who had a live birth (n = 38, TNF-α: 48.7; IFN-γ: 1.4), however this difference was not statistically significant. Interestingly, the systemic TNF-α and IFN-γ levels were significantly higher in women who had a higher level of activated (CD69+) NK cells (n = 39, TNF-α: 86.8; IFN-γ: 4.7) when compared with women who had a low level of activated NK cells (n = 87, TNF-α: 46.9; IFN-γ: 1.7 P = 0.028 and 0.045 respectively).

Conclusion

The systemic levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ have no association with implantation rate or miscarriage rate in women undergoing IVF treatment. However, high levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ are associated with elevated levels of activated NK cells and this may subsequently exert a negative impact on reproduction.

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