mbryonic implantation: cytokines, adhesion molecules, and immune cells in establishing an implantation environment.
Implantation occurs during the putative implantation window, in which the maternal endometrium is ready to accept the blastocyst, which on the other hand, also plays a specific role.
It produces cytokines and chemokines and expresses adhesion molecules and certain classes of MHC molecules.
We review the most important players in implantation. Concerning the cytokines, the establishment of controlled aggression is key; an excess of pro- or anti-inflammation is detrimental to pregnancy outcome.
Chemokines control the orientation of the embryo. The adhesion molecules are necessary to establish the required physical interaction between mother and blastocyst. Finally, immune cells and in particular, uterine NK and regulatory T cells are pivotal in inducing tolerance to the blastocyst.
The aim of this review is to discuss mechanisms at play and their relative importance to the establishment of pregnancy.