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Increased Prevalence of IL-17-Producing Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes in Pre-eclampsia


Attila Molvarec MD PhD, Hangya lépcső 9, Budapest H-1121, Hungary.


Toldi G, Rigó J Jr, Stenczer B, Vásárhelyi B, Molvarec A. Increased prevalence of IL-17-producing peripheral blood lymphocytes in pre-eclampsia. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 66: 223–229

Problem  Systemic inflammation is a dominant component in the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia. Besides the imbalance of Th1 and Th2 cells, alterations of the prevalence of Th17 and regulatory T cells have also been suggested to contribute to inflammation. We aimed to describe the prevalence of these four CD4 lymphocyte subtypes in pre-eclampsia and normal pregnancy, along with that of IL-17-producing CD8 and NK cells.

Method of study  Twenty pre-eclamptic and 22 normal pregnant women were enrolled in this study. Using flow cytometry, we determined the prevalence of IL-17-producing cells among the CD4, CD8 and NK cell subsets. Furthermore, we measured the prevalence of CD4+ Tregs, and Th1/Th2 cells were characterized using cell surface chemokine receptor markers.

Results  We demonstrated that there is a shift not only in the Th1/Th2 but also in the Th17/Treg balance favouring skewness towards a pro-inflammatory status in pre-eclampsia. The proportion of CD8 and NK cells that express IL-17 was also higher in pre-eclampsia.

Conclusion  The prevalence of IL-17-producing CD4, CD8 and NK cells is elevated in pre-eclampsia, indicating that both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system are involved in the development of the exaggerated maternal systemic inflammation observed in this pregnancy-specific disorder.