Single-cell transcriptome analysis reveals defective decidua stromal niche attributes to recurrent spontaneous abortion

Cell Prolif. 2021 Sep 21;e13125. doi: 10.1111/cpr.13125. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Successful pregnancy involves the homeostasis between maternal decidua and fetoplacental units, whose disruption contributes to compromised pregnancy outcomes, including recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). The role of cell heterogeneity of maternal decidua in RSA is yet to be illustrated.

Materials and methods: A total of 66,078 single cells from decidua samples isolated from patients with RSA and healthy controls were analysed by unbiased single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq).

Results: Our scRNA-seq results revealed that stromal cells are the most abundant cell type in decidua during early pregnancy. RSA samples are accompanied by aberrant decidualization and obviously obstructed communication between stromal cells and other cell types, such as abnormal activation of macrophages and NK cells. In addition, the over-activated TNF superfamily member 12 (TNFSF12, TWEAK) and FASLG in RSA are closely related to stromal cell demise and pregnancy failure.

Conclusions: Our research reveals that the cell composition and communications in normal and RSA decidua at early pregnancy and provides insightful information for the pathology of RSA and will pave the way for pregnancy loss prevention.