Pregnancy is the only natural situation in vertebrates where two genetically distinct organisms co-exist. It is the placenta that comes into direct contact with the maternal womb and her immune cells. Both humans and mice develop haemochorial placentation where trophoblast cells invade the uterus and physically interact with a unique and predominant population of immune cells known as uterine NK cells (uNK) at early stages of pregnancy.
Why doesn't the mother’s immune system attack the semi-allogeneic implant?
In the laboratory of Francesco Colucci, I use the mouse models to understand how uNK cells contribute to fetal and placental development and to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying the interactions between the fetal placenta and the maternal uNK cells.
cytotoxicity ; trophoblast ; circulation ; adhesion molecules ; uterus ; natural killer receptors ; human studies ; granzymes/perforin/lysosomal ; cell development ; chemokines/monokines ; animal models ; traffic ; migration ; invasion ; differentiation ; NNK receptors ; natural killer cells ; interleukin ; cytokines ; pregnancy
Zofia Madeja, Hakim Yadi, Richard Apps, Selma Boulenouar, Stephen J, Roper, Lucy Gardner, Ashley Moffett, Francesco Colucci, and Myriam Hemberger. From the Cover: Paternal MHC expression on mouse trophoblast affects uterine vascularization and fetal growth. PNAS 2011 108 (10) 4012–4017
Francesco Colucci, Selma Boulenouar, Jens Kieckbusch, Ashley Moffett. How does variability of immune system genes affect placentation? Placenta. 2011 Aug;32(8):539–45.
Boulenouar S, Weyn C, Van Noppen M, Moussa Ali M, Favre M, Delvenne PO, Bex F, Noël A, Englert Y, Fontaine V. Effects of HPV-16 E5, E6 and E7 proteins on survival, adhesion, migration and invasion of trophoblastic cells. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Mar;31(3):473-80.