Synthesis and granular localization of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in activated NK cells in the pregnant mouse uterus

J Reprod Immunol. 1995 Jan;28(1):31-40. doi: 10.1016/0165-0378(94)00905-m.


The synthesis and cellular localization of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were studied in mouse GMG cells, which are activated NK cells in uterine decidual tissue during pregnancy. Synthesis of the protein was demonstrated in GMG cells on days 10 and 14 of pregnancy by in situ hybridization of TNF-alpha message. Immunostaining demonstrated that TNF-alpha protein was localized in the cytoplasmic granules of GMG cells at these times. The results suggest that the cytolytic activity of uterine NK cells may be due in part to TNF-alpha, and that this cytokine may be delivered to target cells intracellularly via transmembrane pores formed by perforin, which is also localized in uterine NK cell granules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism*
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Uterus / metabolism*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens