Recent advances in understanding immunology of reproductive failure

J Reprod Immunol. 2011 Jun;90(1):96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2011.03.006. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Aspects of the immunological relationship between mother and conceptus still remain a mystery, although the recent advances in molecular biology have enlightened some of the parameters that participate in fetomaternal cross-talk during implantation. The atypical expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC), the specific role of some hormones and cytokines, as well as the temporal and spatial distributions of uterine natural killer cells, represent substantive parameters of fetomaternal immunotolerance during implantation. Although human maternal and fetal immunology is difficult to investigate, aberrant immune responses and an imbalanced cytokine network may be related to infertility, implantation failures after IVF and recurrent pregnancy losses. In this review, immunological and interacting factors involved in human reproductive failure are summarized and critically evaluated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo Implantation / immunology
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Infertility / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Reproduction / immunology*