Natural killer (NK) cells accumulate at the maternal-fetal interface in large numbers, but their exact roles in successful pregnancy remain poorly defined. Here, we provide evidence that TH17 cells and local inflammation can occur at the maternal-fetal interface during natural allogenic pregnancies. We found that decidual NK cells promote immune tolerance and successful pregnancy by dampening inflammatory TH17 cells via IFN-γ secreted by the CD56brightCD27+ NK subset. This NK-cell-mediated regulatory response is lost in patients who experience recurrent spontaneous abortions, which results in a prominent TH17 response and extensive local inflammation. This local in flammatory response further affects the regulatory function of NK cells, leading to the eventual loss of maternal-fetal tolerance. Thus, our data identify NK cells as key regulatory cells at the maternal-fetal interface by suppressing T H17-mediated local inflammation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jan 15 2013|
- Fetomaternal tolerance
- Regulatory NK cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas