Problem Extensive studies have demonstrated that Th1 type immunity is predominant in pre-eclampsia, but there is little concern with regard to the intracellular mechanisms behind this initial T-cell polarization. In this study, we investigated whether the imbalance of the T-cell transcription factors contributes to it.
Method of study A total of 15 pre-eclamptic patients and 15 healthy pregnant women were enrolled in this study. The expression levels of transcription factors for Th1 (T-bet), Th2 (GATA3), Th17 (RORc) and Treg (FOXP3) cells, together with the Th1/Th2 status, were simultaneously investigated in both peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and decidua.
Results The expression levels of FOXP3 mRNA were decreased in both PBMCs and decidua from pre-eclamptic patients compared with healthy pregnant women (P < 0.05), and T-bet mRNA and RORc mRNA were significantly increased (P < 0.05), while Th1/Th2 balance shifted toward the Th1 immunity. Furthermore, there was a negative correlation between FOXP3 mRNA and Th1 cells (P < 0.05), and the expression level of T-bet mRNA correlated strongly with Th1 cells (P < 0.05).
Conclusion Decreased expression of FOXP3 mRNA and increased expression of T-bet mRNA may contribute to Th1 type immunity predominant in pre-eclampsia.