Shallow trophoblast invasion and impaired vascular remodeling of spiral arteries have been recognized in early-onset preeclampsia. Placentation and vascular remodeling are multistep processes, and hypoxia, placental oxidative stress, excessive or atypical maternal immune response to trophoblasts, exaggerated inflammation, and increased production of anti-angiogenic factors such as the soluble form of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor (sFlt-1) and soluble endoglin (sENG) may play a role in poor placentation in preeclampsia. Recent findings suggest that autophagy plays an important role in extravillous trophoblast (EVT) invasion and vascular remodeling under hypoxia, and sENG inhibits EVT invasion and vascular remodeling by the inhibition of autophagy under hypoxic conditions. In this review, we discuss the relationship between inadequate autophagy and poor placentation in preeclampsia.
Decreased regulatory T (Treg) cells have been reported in cases of recurrent pregnancy loss. To understand the role of Treg cells in human pregnancy, we have studied the frequency, localization and characterization of Treg cells in the decidua. The frequency of Foxp3(+) cells among CD3(+)CD8(-) cells at the decidua basalis in cases of miscarriage with a normal embryo karyotype (n=10) was significantly lower than in normally progressing pregnancies (n=10). However, those frequencies in miscarriage with an abnormal embryo karyotype were similar to normally progressing pregnancies. Next, we used flow cytometry to study Treg cell expression of the proliferation marker Ki67 and functional Treg marker CCR5. The frequency of Foxp3(+)CD4(+) T cells in miscarriage with a normal embryo (n=10) was significantly lower than those in normally progressing pregnancies (n=15) and in miscarriage with an abnormal embryo (n=14). In miscarriage with a normal embryo, the population of Ki67(-)Foxp3(+)CD4(+) T cells was significantly smaller than in normal pregnancy. However, the frequencies of Ki67(+)Foxp3(+)CD4(+) cells and CCR5(+)Foxp3(+)CD4(+) cells were not different between the three groups. These data suggest that increased Ki67(-) Treg cells in the decidua basalis may play an important role in the induction of immune tolerance, and that immune-medicated pregnancy loss may be caused by decreased Ki67(-) Treg cells in the implantation site.
Regulatory T cells (Treg) play essential roles in implantation and allogeneic pregnancy maintenance in mice and humans. Recent data have shown the heterogeneity of Treg, such as thymic (naturally occurring) Treg, extrathymic (inducible or peripheral) Treg, naïve Treg, effector Treg, resting (non-proliferating) Treg and activated (proliferating) Treg. Importantly, Foxp3, which was believed to be a specific marker for Treg, is transiently expressed in T cells when conventional T cells are activated and proliferating in humans showing that Foxp3 is not a specific marker for Treg. Therefore, we should evaluate the true Treg level and clarify which types of Treg cells play important roles in implantation and pregnancy maintenance in mice and humans.
In early pregnancy, trophoblasts and the fetus experience hypoxic and low-nutrient conditions; nevertheless, trophoblasts invade the uterine myometrium up to one third of its depth and migrate along the lumina of spiral arterioles, replacing the maternal endothelial lining. Here, we showed that autophagy, an intracellular bulk degradation system, occurred in extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells under hypoxia in vitro and in vivo. An enhancement of autophagy was observed in EVTs in early placental tissues, which suffer from physiological hypoxia. The invasion and vascular remodeling under hypoxia were significantly reduced in autophagy-deficient EVT cells compared with wild-type EVT cells. Interestingly, soluble endoglin (sENG), which increased in sera in preeclamptic cases, suppressed EVT invasion by inhibiting autophagy. The sENG-inhibited EVT invasion was recovered by TGFB1 treatment in a dose-dependent manner. A high dose of sENG inhibited the vascular construction by EVT cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), meanwhile a low dose of sENG inhibited the replacement of HUVECs by EVT cells. A protein selectively degraded by autophagy, SQSTM1, accumulated in EVT cells in preeclamptic placental biopsy samples showing impaired autophagy. This is the first report showing that impaired autophagy in EVT contributes to the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
Extravillous trophoblasts (EVTs) characterize the invasion of the maternal decidua under low oxygen and poor nutrition at the early feto-maternal interface to establish a successful pregnancy. We previously reported that autophagy in EVTs was activated under 2% O2 in vitro, and autophagy activation was also observed in EVTs at the early feto-maternal interface in vivo. Here, we show that autophagy is an energy source for the invasion of EVTs. Cobalt chloride (CoCl2), which induces hypoxia inducible factor 1? (HIF1?) overexpression, activated autophagy in HTR8/SVneo cells, an EVT cell line. The number of invading HTR8-ATG4B(C74A) cells, an autophagy-deficient EVT cell line, was markedly reduced by 81 percent with the CoCl2 treatment through the suppression of MMP9 level, although CoCl2 did not affect the cellular invasion of HTR8-mStrawberry cells, a control cell line. HTR8-ATG4B(C74A) cells treated with CoCl2 showed a decrease in cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and a compensatory increase in the expression of purinergic receptor P2X ligand-gated ion channel 7 (P2RX7), which is stimulated with ATP, whereas HTR8-mStrawberry cells maintained cellular ATP levels and did not affect P2RX7 expression. Furthermore, the decreased invasiveness of HTR8-ATG4B(C74A) cells treated with CoCl2 was neutralized by ATP supplementation to the level of HTR8-ATG4B(C74A) cells treated without CoCl2. These results suggest that autophagy plays a role in maintaining homeostasis by countervailing HIF1?-mediated cellular energy consumption in EVTs.
Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis is a treatment-responsive encephalitis associated with anti-NMDAR antibodies. Unlike classic paraneoplastic encephalitis, this disorder usually develops in young women with ovarian teratoma who typically present with marked neuropsychiatric symptoms, followed by prolonged respiratory failure, clouding of consciousness, and bizarre dyskinesia. This disorder is often treatable by resection of ovarian tumor and immunotherapy, but, delayed diagnosis results in a worse condition and sometimes fatal outcome. However, some gynecologists are not familiar with this disorder. When physicians encounter a female patient with encephalitis showing marked neuropsychiatric symptoms, search for an ovarian tumor should be promptly initiated. We present a case of anti-NMDAR encephalitis associated with ovarian immature teratoma. The symptoms were dramatically relieved by tumor resection and immunotherapy.
The identification of a novel helper T (Th)-cell subset, the IL-17-producing Th (Th17) cells, has provided new insight into our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of reproduction. IL-17 has an important role in induction of the protective immune response against extracellular bacteria or fungal pathogens. Th17 cells seem to participate in successful pregnancy processes. Th17 cells also play a pivotal role in pathogenesis of endometriosis, miscarriage, preterm labor and preeclampsia. Recent data show the reciprocal development of pathways between Th1/Th17 subsets and between Th17/Treg subsets, and the imbalance of Th17/Treg development has been reported in recurrent pregnancy loss and preeclampsia.
Squamous cell cervical carcinoma that metastasized to the ovary is common in patients with bulky tumors or locally advanced disease; however, ovarian squamous cell carcinoma that metastasized after cervical conization surgery for early microinvasive uterine cervical carcinoma is very rare. We present a case of ovarian squamous cell carcinoma that metastasized 8 years after cervical conization surgery for early microinvasive cervical carcinoma. She had no sign of recurrence in the uterine cervix. We detected human papillomavirus type 16 DNA in both cervical tissue and ovarian tissue, suggesting that ovarian squamous cell carcinoma is derived from microinvasive cervical cancer. Although there are very few cases of early microinvasive squamous cell carcinoma that metastasized to the ovary with delayed recurrence, we should pay attention strictly not only to the cervical condition but also to the ovarian condition on regular post-operative follow-up.
Preeclampsia (PE) is a severe complication of pregnancy characterized by an excessive maternal systemic inflammatory response with activation of both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Granulysin is a cytolytic and pro-inflammatory molecule expressed by activated human cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells. Recent data show that serum granulysin levels are elevated in preeclampsia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the proportion of peripheral blood cytotoxic T lymphocytes and NK cells that express intracellular granulysin is altered in PE. Twenty-two preeclamptic patients and 29 healthy pregnant women were involved in this case-control study. Intracellular granulysin expression of lymphocytes was determined with flow cytometric examination. In healthy pregnant women, the majority of NK cells and a small fraction of cytotoxic T cells expressed granulysin in their cytoplasma (median (25-75 percentile): 53.5 (45.6-68.0)% and 13.8 (8.5-23.1)%, respectively). In PE, the percentage of granulysin-positive cytotoxic T lymphocytes was markedly increased, while the proportion of granulysin-producing NK cells was unchanged as compared to healthy pregnant women (for cytotoxic T cells: 34.1 (19.3-45.6)%, p<0.001; for NK cells: 57.2 (42.9-74.9)%, p>0.05). Maternal age of healthy pregnant women showed a significant inverse correlation with the frequency of granulysin-expressing NK cells (Spearman R=-0.44, p<0.05), while their BMI correlated positively with the proportions of granulysin-positive cytotoxic T cells and NK cells (Spearman R=0.43, p<0.05 for both). In conclusion, the majority of circulating NK cells but only a small population of cytotoxic T cells shows intracellular granulysin expression in normal pregnancy. In preeclampsia, the proportion of granulysin-producing cytotoxic T cells in the peripheral blood is markedly increased, which might contribute to the development of the pro-inflammatory Th1-type immune responses characteristics of the maternal syndrome of the disease.
A significant proportion of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is associated with immune etiologies. The immunological environment is different between decidua basalis and decidua parietalis, and also different between RPL cases with normal fetal chromosomes and those with abnormal fetal chromosomes. Recent data show that the immune system in a late-stage abortion is completely different from that in an early-stage abortion. If immunocompetent cells can cause RPL, the immunological environment may be a causative factor, especially in an early-stage abortion, and/or at decidua basalis and/or in the cases of RPL with a normal embryo. Careful examination of the immune system at the decidua basalis in an early-stage abortion in RPL cases with normal fetal chromosome may reveal useful information.
Since ovarian cancer during pregnancy is rare, the decisions regarding pregnancy discontinuation or fertility preservation are often difficult. We report three ovarian cancer cases detected at early, mid and late pregnancy periods in which both babies and mothers were saved. In particular, case 2 is the first reported instance of a sertoliform endometrioid carcinoma of the ovary during pregnancy. In addition, we review the clinical characteristics of previously reported patients with stage I ovarian cancer diagnosed during pregnancy. Even with stage Ia ovarian cancer, restaging laparotomy at cesarean section or post-delivery may be important to determine the treatment plan because staging during pregnancy is rarely complete.
Primary endometrioid adenocarcinoma rarely occurs in the vagina. Occasionally, endometrioid adenocarcinoma has a microglandular pattern. Herein, a case of primary endometrioid adenocarcinoma of the vagina with a microglandular pattern arising from pre-existing endometriosis long after a hysterectomy, is described. A 57-year-old postmenopausal woman developed a vaginal discharge over one decade after undergoing a hysterectomy. Microscopic examination of the vaginal smear and a biopsy specimen demonstrated an atypical glandular proliferation composed of columnar cells with occasional intracytoplasmic mucin and bland nuclear morphology, showing microcysts and numerous neutrophils within and around cysts. Immunohistochemically, the neoplastic cells were diffusely positive for CK7, MUC1, ER, and PR, and focally positive for vimentin, CEA, CK5/6, p63, p16(INK4a), and p53. A portion of residual endometrioid adenocarcinoma was identified adjacent to foci of endometriosis in the vaginectomy specimen. The patient has done well without evidence of recurrent disease for 1 year after surgery. Pathologists are encouraged to be aware of the occurrence of endometrioid adenocarcinoma associated with endometriosis in the vaginal stump after hysterectomy, and microglandular morphology which might be a source of misinterpretation.
We experienced a case of carcinomatous meningitis originating from stage IIIc ovarian cancer complicated by syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). A 51-year-old woman had been treated with multiple chemotherapy regimens after an initial operation for ovarian cancer. During the last chemotherapy regimen, she suffered headache, mood changes and ataxia. After one week, she had a convulsive seizure and lost consciousness. Laboratory studies showed hyponatremia, low serum osmolality, elevated urinary sodium level and urine osmolality. Cranial-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed abnormal meningeal enhancement. A lumbar puncture examination revealed that numerous atypical cells were present. Carcinomatous meningitis complicated by SIADH was diagnosed and treatment for hyponatremia and whole brain radiotherapy were performed; however, she died two weeks after the radiation therapy. Clinicians should consider carcinomatous meningitis when there are findings of SIADH.
T-helper (Th) cells play a central role in modulating immune responses. The Th1/Th2 paradigm has now developed into the new Th1/Th2/Th17 paradigm. In addition to effector cells, Th cells are regulated by regulatory T (Treg) cells. Their capacity to produce cytokines is suppressed by immunoregulatory cytokines such as transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta and interleukin (IL)-10 or by cell-to-cell interaction. Here, we will review the immunological environment in normal pregnancy and complicated pregnancy, such as implantation failure, abortion, preterm labor, and preeclampsia from the viewpoint of the new Th1/Th2/Th17 and Treg paradigms.
Th17 cells, a new subset of helper T cells, have been focused on as a producer pro-inflammatory cytokines. It is, however, still unknown how Th17 cells affect pregnancy outcome. We investigated the expression of IL-17-producing cells in human spontaneous abortion.
Maternal T cells acquire a transient state of tolerance specific for paternal alloantigens during pregnancy. CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells play a central role in induction and maintenance of tolerance. We have studied the role of Treg cells for the maintenance of allogeneic pregnancy during the implantation period, early pregnancy period and late pregnancy period. We performed depletion of Treg cells using treatment with anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody (mAb) in allogeneic or syngeneic pregnant mice. BALB/c or C57BL/6 female mice were mated with BALB/c or C57BL/6 male mice, and anti-CD25 mAb was injected intraperitoneally on day 2.5 post-coitum (pc), or days 4.5 and 7.5 pc, or days 10.5 and 13.5 pc. Administration of 0.5mg of anti-CD25 mAb induced depletion of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells in both allogeneic and syngeneic pregnancy. The extent of depletion of CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells in spleen cells was 82.7%. This mAb treatment on day 2.5 pc of pregnancy induced implantation failure in allogeneic pregnant mice, but not in syngeneic pregnant mice. In addition, anti-CD25 mAb treatment on days 4.5 and 7.5 pc significantly increased resorption rates in allogeneic pregnant mice, but not in syngeneic pregnant mice. Interestingly, anti-CD25mAb treatment on days 10.5 and 13.5 pc reduced Treg cell numbers, but this treatment did not induce any abnormal pregnancy parameters such as intrauterine growth restriction, hypertension, or proteinuria. These findings suggest that CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells are important to mediate maternal tolerance to the allogeneic fetus in the implantation phase and early stage of pregnancy, but Treg cells might not be necessary for maintenance of the late stage of allogeneic pregnancy.
Objective. The objective of this study is to ascertain whether omission of lymphadenectomy could be possible when uterine corpus cancer is considered low-risk based on intraoperative pathologic indicators. Patient and Methods. Between 1998 and 2007, a total of 83 patients with low risk corpus cancer (endometrioid type, grade 1 or 2, myometrial invasion <==50%, and no intraoperative evidence of macroscopic extrauterine spread, including pelvic and paraaortic lymph node swelling and adnexal metastasis) underwent the total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy without lymphadenectomy. A retrospective review of the medical records was performed, and the disease-free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS), peri- and postoperative morbidities and complications were evaluated. Results. The 5-year DFS rates and the 5-year OS rates were 97.6% and 98.8%, respectively. No patient presented postoperative leg lymphedema and deep venous thrombosis. Conclusion. Omission of lymphadenectomy did not worsen the DFS or OS. The present findings suggest that systemic lymphadenectomy could be omitted in low-risk endometrial carcinoma.
The Th1/Th2 paradigm has recently been reconstituted to include a third population, Th17 cells. It has been reported that Th2 type immunity is predominantly present in normal pregnancy. However, the level of Th17 cells during pregnancy is still unclear. We investigated the level of peripheral Th17 cells in healthy pregnancy subjects.
Embryonic development is a complex process that is regulated by many cell types and signaling pathways. This review focuses on the role of NK cells and regulatory T-cells (Treg cells) in embryonic loss. Approximately 70% of uterine leukocytes until the time of mid-gestation are found to be CD16(-)CD56(bright) NK cells. This subset of NK cells, along with Treg cells, has been shown to regulate fetal development. We recently found a population of NK cells in the pregnant mouse uterus with a unique CD3(-)CD49b(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) phenotype. This review summarizes the studies indicating critical roles for expression of IL-10 by CD3(-)CD49b(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) cells and CXCR4 expression on CD16(-)CD56(bright) NK cells in preventing embryonic loss. In addition, the roles of toll-like receptors (TLRs) and CXCR4 in NK cell migration and functional modulation are discussed.
Chorioamnionitis (CAM) is a major cause of preterm delivery. Inflammatory cytokines and chemokines play important roles in the pathogenesis of preterm delivery. Interleukin (IL)-17 is a key cytokine which induces inflammation and is critical to host defense. In this study, we examined the role of IL-17 in the pathogenesis of preterm delivery. The levels of cytokines including IL-17, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha were measured by ELISA in amniotic fluid from 154 cases of preterm labor. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemical staining were performed to determine the distribution of IL-17-producing cells. IL-8 secretion was evaluated in primary cultured human amniotic mesenchymal (HAM) cells and human amniotic epithelial (HAE) cells stimulated with IL-17, TNFalpha or IL-1beta. We also studied the signaling pathway of IL-17 and TNFalpha in HAM cells. Levels of inflammatory cytokines in amniotic fluid were higher in preterm delivery cases than in term delivery cases. Furthermore, IL-8, IL-17 and TNFalpha levels were significantly higher in the preterm cases with CAM stage II or III than those without CAM. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemical staining revealed that CD3(+)CD4(+) T cells were the main source of IL-17 in the chorioamniotic membrane. Interestingly, TNFalpha-induced IL-8 secretion was enhanced by IL-17 in a dose-dependent manner in HAM cells. The IKK inhibitor BMS-345541 and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors p38, JNK and p42/44 (ERK1/2 pathway) reduced IL-8 secretion by IL-17-stimulated and TNFalpha-stimulated HAM cells. These results indicate that IL-17, produced by T cells, promotes inflammation at the fetomaternal interface in preterm delivery.
Deep endometriosis is associated with severe painful symptoms that sometimes impair the quality of life in women of reproductive age. Medical therapy does not provide for adequate pain relief, and an effective management option to reduce pelvic pain appears to be complete laparoscopic removal of as many endometriotic lesions as possible. In this study, we investigated the usefulness and risks of radical laparoscopic removal of deep endometriosis for patients diagnosed as stage III/IV endometriosis during laparoscopic surgery. Forty-seven consecutive patients undergoing conservative laparoscopic surgery alone (adhesiotomy and cystectomy of ovarian endometriosis but not removal of deep endometriotic lesion; non-DEL removal group) and 151 consecutive patients undergoing radical laparoscopic removal of deep endometriotic lesions combined with conservative surgery (DEL removal group) were compared. As a result, significant improvements in pain were obtained in both groups, however, the degree of improvement was significantly higher and the rate of recurrence was significantly lower in the DEL removal group. The addition of radical removal of deep endometriotic lesions to conservative laparoscopic surgery markedly reduces the severity of dysmenorrhea and the rate of recurrent pelvic pain. Although the surgical procedure is technically demanding, the levels of peri-operative complications and morbidity are acceptable.
Immunological dysfunction has been proposed to explain the etiology of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). The immunological environment differs between the decidua basalis and decidua parietalis, and also between RPL cases with normal fetal chromosomes and those with abnormal fetal chromosomes. The problem with analyzing decidual tissues from spontaneous abortions is that cause versus effect phenomena are difficult to distinguish. Recent data show that the immune system in a late-stage miscarriage is completely different from that in an early-stage miscarriage. If immunocompetent cells can cause RPL, the immunological environment may be a causative factor, especially in an early-stage miscarriage, at the decidua basalis, and/or in cases of RPL with a normal embryo. Careful examination of the immune system at the decidua basalis in an early-stage miscarriage in RPL cases with normal fetal chromosomes may reveal useful information. This paper aimed at finding a cause of RPL by analyzing the balance of the immune system between T cells and NK cells in an early-stage miscarriage.
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