Human Leukocyte Antigen-G-Expressing Cells Differently Modulate the Release of Cytokines from Mononuclear Cells Present in the Decidua Versus Peripheral Blood


Address reprint requests to Tomoyuki Fujii, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8655 Japan. E-mail:


PROBLEM: To better understand the role of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G in regulating the T helper (Th)1/Th2 cytokine balance, one of key conditions in determining the fate of pregnancy, we asked whether the presence of HLA-G protein altered the release of cytokines from both decidual mononuclear cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
METHOD OF STUDY: The amounts of cytokines released from decidual mononuclear cells and PBMCs were compared in the presence or absence of HLA-G-expressing cells.
RESULTS: When cocultured with HLA-G-expressing cells, the amounts of tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ released from decidual mononuclear cells and PBMCs were decreased, while the amounts of interleukin (IL)-4 from PBMCs was increased, with IL-4 release from decidual mononuclear cells being unchanged.
CONCLUSIONS: Upon contact with HLA-G, decidual mononuclear cells, and PBMCs as well, modulate their ability to release cytokines in a way that may shift the Th1/Th2 balance towards relative Th2 dominance, suggesting a role for HLA-G in maintaining pregnancy.