There is conflicting evidence on the role of autoimmune disorders in reproductive failure, including recurrent miscarriage (RM) and recurrent implantation failure (RIF), after in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Several commonly studied autoimmune markers in women with reproductive failure include antiphospholipid antibodies (APAs), thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPA) and uterine natural killer (uNK) cells. However, there have not been any studies that have examined the correlation of these markers in women with reproductive failure. To determine if women who tested positive for autoantibodies (APA and thyroid peroxidase antibodies) have significantly higher uNK cell numbers than women who tested negative for these antibodies, the percentage of stromal cells that stained positive for CD56 was identified by immunocytochemistry in endometrial biopsies from 42 women with unexplained RM (29 women tested negative for autoantibodies and 13 women tested positive for autoantibodies) and 40 women with unexplained RIF (30 women tested negative for autoantibodies and 10 women tested positive for autoantibodies). Biopsies were obtained on days LH+7 to LH+9. There was no significant difference in uNK cell numbers between women with unexplained RM who tested negative and those who tested positive for autoantibodies. Similarly, there was no significant difference in uNK cell numbers between women with unexplained RIF who tested negative and those who tested positive for autoantibodies. In women with reproductive failure the presence of autoantibodies does not appear to affect the numbers of uNK cells in the endometrium around the time of implantation.
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