Glycodelin-A (GdA) is a glycoprotein secreted from the endometrial glands and decidual glandular epithelium. Given its abundance and ubiquitous distribution in the first trimester uterus, GdA may be involved in early placental development via its modulatory effect on immune and trophoblast cells. GdA inhibits activation and proliferation, and induces apoptosis of T cells. By selectively inducing Th1 cell death, GdA may shift the Th1/Th2 ratio at the feto-maternal interface. This is also achieved indirectly through enhanced expression of Fas in the Th1 cells, thus making them vulnerable to cell death through Fas ligand expressed on trophoblast, endometrial, and activated T helper cells. GdA also promotes secretion of the Th2 cytokines IL-6 and IL-13 from NK cells, and induces immunological tolerance of dendritic cells and apoptosis of monocytes. Specific glycosylation is a prerequisite for the biological activities of GdA. Reduction in α2-6 sialylation of GdA, as in gestational diabetes, is associated with impairment of its T cell apoptosis-inducing activities. This review integrates recent studies on GdA and its role as a paracrine regulator in early pregnancy.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.