Untersuchungen zur Generierung, Migration und Funktion von Regulatorischen T-Zellen in der Schwangerschaft
Normal pregnancy is characterized by the generation of maternal immune tolerance towards the foreign fetal antigens. Regulatory T cells (Treg cells) have been shown to increase in number during early pregnancy stages and to be essential for the establishment of fetal tolerance. However, the mechanisms and factors supporting their increase and function are not well defined. First investigations showed that Treg cells accumulated in the sexually receptive phase of the murine estrous cycle. Thus,
... trous cycle. Thus, it can be assumed that the accumulation of Treg cells around the time of insemination favours early recognition of paternal antigens and thereby prepares the maternal immune system for the implantation of the blastocyst into the maternal endometrium. Experiments investigating the increase of Treg cells during early pregnancy suggest that alloantigens present in the ejaculate mediated early Treg cell augmentation. Moreover TGF-beta, which represents a major component in the seminal fluid, provoked the proliferation of Treg cells. These results suggest that the early expansion of Treg cells is alloantigen-mediated and that seminal fluid-derived TGF-beta is involved in this expansion. Additionally it has been shown that the pregnancy hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) has an important impact on Treg cells during pregnancy. By using human samples it has been proven that hCG mediates the migration of Treg cells to trophoblast cells and supports the conversion of naïve T cells into Treg cells directly at the fetal-maternal interface. In mice, the application of hCG resulted in an increase in the number and function of Treg cells and thereby prevented abortion in a mouse abortion-prone model. Thus, hCG mediates the generation, migration and function of Treg cells and contributes to a successful pregnancy outcome.