Get access

Toll-Like Receptor 4 Expression in Decidual Cells and Interstitial Trophoblasts Across Human Pregnancy



Frederick Schatz, Ph.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University, 460 W. 12th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, USA.




Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) protects against Gram-negative bacteria expressed lipopolysaccharide and ‘danger signals’ from injured or dying cells. Although decidual cells (DCs) and interstitial trophoblasts (ITs) are in close contact, TLR-4 has been studied extensively only in ITs.

Method of study

Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded serial sections of endometrium in follicular and luteal phases and deciduas from first and second trimester elective terminations and third trimester normal deliveries were immunostained for TLR-4, trophoblast-specific cytokeratin, and DC-specific vimentin. HSCORE assessed TLR-4 immunostaining in DCs versus ITs.


TLR-4 HSCORES were significantly higher in: (i) first trimester DCs than luteal phase pre-decidual stromal cells; (ii) first and third versus second trimester DCs, but similar between third trimester deciduas parietalis and basalis; (iii) first versus second trimester ITs; (iv) DCs versus ITs across gestation.


Higher TLR-4 in DCs than ITs suggests DCs as primary targets for Gram-negative bacteria and/or inflammation-related danger signals.

Get access to the full text of this article