Proportional changes of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Regulatory T cells in maternal peripheral blood during pregnancy and labor at term and preterm

Huijuan Xiong; Changju Zhou; Guannan Qi
December 2010
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Dec2010, Vol. 33 Issue 6, pE422
Academic Journal
Purpose: To evaluate the proportional changes of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) in maternal peripheral blood during pregnancy and labor at term and preterm. Methods: Peripheral blood was collected from 20 non-pregnant controls and 139 pregnant women (60 at different gestational ages, 48 at term with or without labor, and 31 in threatened or actual preterm labor). CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs in peripheral blood samples were analyzed in peripheral blood samples by low cytometry. Placentas from preterm women were examined for the presence of histological chorioamnionitis (HC). Results: !e percentage of circulating CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs was significantly increased in women during the first trimester compared with non-pregnant controls (P<0.0001), peaking during the second trimester and then declining slightly in the third trimester. !ere was a significantly lower level of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs in women with term labor than in those at term without labor (P<0.0001). Women admitted in preterm labor had a lower proportion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells than those admitted with threatening preterm labor (P<0.0001). Preterm women with evidence of HC had decreased proportion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells than those without HC in preterm deliveries (P=0.008). Moreover, the percentages of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells in preterm subjects, irrespective of the HC status, were significantly diminished compared with women with normal pregnancy at the same gestational age (P<0.0001). Conclusion: Our data reveal a marked elevation of peripheral blood CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs during early pregnancy, but a dramatic decline during labor, either at term or preterm, suggesting their involvement in the maintenance of pregnancy and the initiation of labor.


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