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Korean J Fertil Steril. 1998 Aug;25(2):115-122. Korean. Original Article.
Choi BC , Hill JA .

The maintenance of a viable pregnancy has long been viewed as an immunological paradox. The deveolping embryo and trophoblast are immunologically foreign to the maternal immune system due to their maternally inherited genes products and tissue-specific differentiation antigens (Hill & Anderson, 1988). Therefore, speculation has arisen that spontaneous abortion may be caused by impaired maternal immune tolerance to the semiallogenic conceptus (Hill, 1990). Loss of recall antigen has been reported in immunosuppressed transplant recipients and is associated with graft survival (Muluk et al., 1991; Schulik et al., 1994). Progesterone (10(-5)M) has immunosuppressive capabilities (Szekeres-Bartho et al., 1985).Previous study showed that fertile women, but not women with unexplained recurrent abortion(URA), lose their immune response to recall antigens when pregnant (Bermas & Hill, 1997). Therefore, we hypothesized that immunosuppressive doses of progesterone may affect proliferative response of lymphocytes to trophoblast antigen and alloantigen. Proliferative responses using 3H-thymidine (3H-TdR) incorporation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to the irradiated allogeneic periperal blood mononuclear cells as alloantigen, trophoblast extract and Flu as recall antigen, and PHA as mitogen were serially checked in 9 women who had experienced unexplained recurrent miscarriage, Progesterone vaginal suppositories (100mg b.i.d; Utrogestan, Organon) beginning 3 days after ovulation were given to 9 women with unexplained RSA who had prior evidence of Thl immunity to trophoblast. We checked proliferation responses to conception cycle before and after progesterone supplementation once a week through the first 7 weeks of pregnancy All patients of alloantigen and PHA had a positive proliferation response that occured in the baseline phase. But 4 out of 9 patients (44.4%) of trophoblast antigen and Flu antigen had a positive proliferative response. The suppression of proliferation response to each antigen were started after proliferative phase and during pregnancy cycles. Our data demonstrated that since in vivo progesterone treated PBMCs suppressed more T-lymphocyte activation and 3H-TdR incorporation compare to PBMCs, which are not influenced by progesterone. This data suggested that it might be influenced by immunosuppressive effect of progesterone. In conclusion, progesterone may play an important immunological role in regulating local immune response in the fetal-placental unit. Furthermore, in the 9 women given progesterone during a conception cycle, Only two (22%) repeat pregnancy losses occured in these 9 women despite loss of antigen responsiveness (one chemical pregnancy loss and one loss at 8 weeks of growth which was karyotyped as a Trisomy 4). These finding suggested that pregnancy loss due to fetal aneuploidy is not associated with immunological phenomena.

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