JAN 27, 2021 9:00 AM PST

Uterine B cell dynamics during pregnancy - Immune regulation of the placenta


Event Date & Time

DATE: January 27, 2021

TIME:  9am PST



Well-timed interaction of correctly functioning maternal immune cells is essential to facilitate healthy placenta formation, as the uterine immune environment has to tolerate the semi-allogeneic fetus, and allow for adequate trophoblast invasion. Impaired induction or function of any counterpart in this tug-of-war at the fetal-maternal interface can be detrimental for mother and child. Various studies focusing on a particular cell type at specific gestational time points underline that local immunity changes during pregnancy. Little is known on the uterine dynamics of B cells. Here, we assessed the uterine immune signature before and during pregnancy using menstrual blood-derived lymphocytes and lymphocytes isolated from decidua of 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, and term placentae. Extensive supervised and unsupervised flow cytometry clustering strategies not only showed a general increase in immune memory throughout pregnancy, but also revealed continuous presence of B cells. In-depth unsupervised analysis revealed decidual B cell subsets absent in peripheral blood. Decidual B cells produced IL-10 and were found to be localized in clusters, together with Foxp3pos T cells. Contradicting the notion that B cells are merely a consequence of uterine pathology, our findings suggest an as yet undisclosed role in healthy pregnancy.


Learning objectives:

  • Explain the concept of reproductive immunology
  • List the value of supervised vs unsupervised flow cytometry analysis
  • Describe the dynamics of B cells within the uterus



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