Group 3 innate lymphoid cells regulate neutrophil migration and function in human decidua

Mucosal Immunol. 2016 Nov;9(6):1372-1383. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.10. Epub 2016 Feb 24.


Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) have a central role in innate defenses against pathogens, lymphoid organogenesis, and tissue remodeling. They have been detected in human decidua, however, their role in this tissue remains unclear. Successful pregnancy requires an early inflammatory phase favoring implantation and tissue remodeling as well as a subsequent regulatory phase to prevent fetal rejection and supporting neoangiogenesis. Here, we show that, during the first trimester of pregnancy, neutrophils infiltrate decidua basalis and are more abundant in normal pregnancy than in spontaneous miscarriages. Decidual neutrophils localize in proximity of NCR+ILC3, which may influence neutrophil migration and survival given their production of CXCL8 and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Moreover, NCR+ILC3-derived GM-CSF was found to induce the expression of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor and IL1ra in neutrophils, two proteins/cytokines involved in tissue remodeling and maintenance of pregnancy. Our data suggest that the simultaneous presence of NCR+ILC3 and neutrophils in decidual tissues and their possible cross talk, may have a role in the early phases of pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Survival / immunology
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / immunology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Decidua / immunology*
  • Decidua / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor / biosynthesis
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Neutrophil Infiltration / immunology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First


  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor