Effect of cytokines and anti-adhesion molecule antibodies on the adhesion of lymphocytic cells to human syncytiotrophoblast

Gordon C Douglas, Jinjie Hu, Twanda L. Thirkill, Karine Hovanes, Sangeeta Sharma, Barry F. King

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19 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that lymphocytic cells bind to cultured syncytiotrophoblast and that this may be important in the lymphocyte-mediated infection of trophoblast with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Leukocyte-trophoblast adhesion may also have implications for normal trophoblast function. The following experiments were designed to characterize the adhesion systems that mediate the attachment of lymphocytic cells to trophoblast. Adhesion was assayed by labelling lymphocytic MOLT-4, clone 8 cells with the fluorescent marker, calcein-AM, and then incubating them with primary cultures of human syncytiotrophoblast. Adhesion was stimulated by pretreatment of the trophoblast cultures with several cytokines either alone or together. These included tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). Stimulation was time- and dose-dependent. In contrast, preincubation of trophoblast cultures with anti-TNF-α antibodies for 2 days reduced MOLT adhesion by almost 50%. Preincubation with other anti-cytokine antibodies had no significant effect on adhesion. In other experiments, adhesion was measured in the presence of antibodies to known adhesion molecules. Adhesion was reduced by 50% in the presence of antibodies to α4 integrin or β1 integrin. When present together, these antibodies reduced adhesion by almost 85%. Incubation in the presence of antibodies to the very late activation antigen-4 (VLA-4; α4β1 integrin) counter-receptors, VCAM-1 and CS-1, was without effect. Adhesion was also unaffected by antibodies to LFA-1, ICAM-1, ICAM-2, LFA-2, or LFA-3. These results suggest that adhesion is mediated by an adhesion system consisting of lymphocyte VLA-4 (α4β1) and an as yet unidentified counter receptor on trophoblast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-62
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cytokines
  • Integrin
  • Leukocytes
  • Trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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