First trimester human decidua is composed of decidual cells, CD56brightCD16-decidual natural killer (dNK) cells, and macrophages. Decidual cells incubated with NK cell-derived IFN-γ and either macrophage-derived TNF-α or IL-1β synergistically enhanced mRNA and protein expression of IP-10 and I-TAC. Both chemokines recruit CXCR3-expressing NK cells. This synergy required IFN-γ receptor 1 and 2 mediation via JAK/STAT and NFκB signaling pathways. However, synergy was not observed on neutrophil, monocyte, and NK cell-recruiting chemokines. Immunostaining of first trimester decidua localized IP-10, I-TAC, IFN-γR1, and -R2 to vimentin-positive decidual cells versus cytokeratin-positive interstitial trophoblasts. Flow cytometry identified high CXCR3 levels on dNK cells and minority peripheral CD56brightCD16-pNK cells and intermediate CXCR3 levels on the majority of CD56dimCD16+pNK cells. Incubation of pNK cells with either IP-10 or I-TAC elicited concentration-dependent enhanced CXCR3 levels and migration of both pNK cell subsets that peaked at 10 ng/mL, whereas each chemokine at a concentration of 50 ng/mL inhibited CXCR3 expression and pNK cell migration. Deciduae from women with preeclampsia, a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality, displayed significantly lower dNK cell numbers and higher IP-10 and I-TAC levels versus gestational age-matched controls. Significantly elevated IP-10 levels in first trimester sera from women eventually developing preeclampsia compared with controls, identifying IP-10 as a novel, robust early predictor of preeclampsia.

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American Journal of Pathology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lockwood, C., Huang, J., Chen, C.-P., Xu, J., Faramarzi, S., Kayisli, O., … Schatz, F. (2013). Decidual cell regulation of natural killer cell-recruiting chemokines: Implications for the pathogenesis and prediction of preeclampsia. American Journal of Pathology, 183(3), 841–856. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.05.029