Emerging role of uterine natural killer cells in establishing pregnancy
Till recent past most popular hypotheses regarding status of immune system in pregnancy were dominated by the Th1 and Th2 hypothesis, in which the fetus avoids maternal rejection through a bias towards T-helper (Th2) cytokine production.
Recent findings have shown that predominant immune interactions in the human deciduas are between the placental trophoblast and maternal uterine natural killer (uNK) cells rather than the T cells. Thus NK cells are emerging as important players in the uterine immune response to invasive forms of placenta, as in cases of hemochorial placenta. In humans there is a lack of evidence for T-cell responses to trophoblast cells; therefore it was thought that uterine NK cells are the key factors by which the maternal immune system recognizes trophoblast cells. In this review we are trying to summarize the role of uNK cells in the maintenance of normal pregnancy in humans.