Dorien Feyaerts, from the research group of Van der Molen, theme Inflammatory diseases, showed that pregnancy induces a memory phenotype on endometrial natural killer cells. However, previous CMV infection is a prerequisite for this memory induction.They published their findings in Cellular and Molecular Immunology: link.
During pregnancy, local uterine natural killer (NK) cells play an important regulatory role by ensuring correct placentation and successful pregnancy. It is known that pregnancy complications of poor placentation are at increased risk in first pregnancies. Since it has become clear that NK cells possess immune memory, it has been suggested that pregnancy could induce memory in uterine NK cells.
The researchers report that previous pregnancy indeed induces an increase of endometrial NK cells with a memory phenotype (LILRB1+ expression on NKG2C+ NK cells) but only when women had a CMV positive status. Multigravidae women with a CMV negative status did not show memory-like NK cells in their endometrium. This suggests that CMV seropositivity might be a prerequisite for the induction of these pregnancy-induced memory endometrial NK cells.
These finding opens up the exciting hypothesis that CMV primes the induction of pregnancy trained eNK cells. This prompts further research to determine how this CMV priming works and whether the observed changes would alter NK cell function in a manner beneficial for future gestations.
Related news items
Terrestrial bacteria can grow on nutrients from space26 May 2020
Researchers from the Radboudumc describe in an article in Astrobiology that bacteria can survive on an 'extraterrestrial diet', which affected their pathogenic potential.read more
Evaluation of an AI system for detection of COVID-19 on Chest X-Ray images22 May 2020
In the journal Radiology researchers from Radboudumc, Bernhoven Hospital and Jeroen Bosch Hospital described how an artificial intelligence system (CAD4COVID-XRay) can identify characteristics of COVID-19 on chest x-rays with performance comparable to six independent radiologists.read more
First clinical trial with genetically modified malaria vaccine completed22 May 2020
In an innovative study, Radboudumc and LUMC jointly tested a candidate vaccine based on a genetically weakened malaria parasite. The results of this clinical trial, published in Science Translational Medicine, show that the vaccine is safe and elicits a defense response against a malaria infection.read more
New step in the development of a vaccine against malaria22 May 2020
A new vaccine based on rodent malaria parasites achieved a 95% reduction in infection of the liver in humans. An international consortium publishes the results in Science Translational Medicine.read more