Objective: Chemokines initiate the immune response by controlling leukocyte migration and lymphocyte development. Macrophage infiltration of the decidua has been implicated in the genesis of recurrent miscarriage and preeclampsia. Therefore, we determined whether cultured human decidual cells produce monocyte/macrophage-recruiting chemokines in response to a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), and whether decidual cell-conditioned medium contains monocyte- and macrophage-chemoattractant activity.
Methods: Leukocyte-free first trimester decidual cells were treated for 6h with estradiol (E(2)) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) to mimic the steroidal milieu of pregnancy, or E(2) and MPA and IL-1beta (1 ng/ml) to mimic inflamed decidua. Total RNA was used for cDNA synthesis. Biotinylated cRNAs were generated and chemically fragmented for hybridization on Affymetrix HG_U133 Plus 2.0 chips followed by fluorescence labeling and optical scanning. Raw data generated from Affymetrix GCOS 1.2 (GeneChip Operating Software) were analyzed by GeneSpring 7.2 software. Subsequently microarray results were validated by real time RT-PCR and Western blotting. A functional study of monocyte migration was carried out also using conditioned media from culture.
Results: Five chemokines responsible for monocyte/macrophage chemoattraction and activation, including C-C motif ligand 2 (CCL2), CCL5, C-X-C motif ligand 2 (CXCL2), CXCL3 and CXCL8, were markedly elevated from 29- to 975-fold after exposure to IL-1beta in cultured first trimester decidual cells. The results of real-time RT-PCR (up-regulation from 43- to 3069-fold) and Western blotting (up-regulation from 15- to 300-fold) confirmed the microarray findings. Monocyte migration was significantly induced by the conditioned medium from IL-1beta-treated decidual cells.
Conclusions: Treatment of first trimester decidual cells with IL-1beta induces secretion of monocyte/macrophage recruiting-chemokines and promotes monocyte migration. Extrapolation of these in vitro results to the milieu of implantation site suggests a mechanism whereby IL-1beta could mediate excessive macrophage infiltration of the decidua.