Lymphocyte characterization of decidua basalis spiral arteries with acute atherosis in preeclamptic and normotensive pregnancies


  • G.M. Johnsen
  • G.L. Størvold
  • P.H. Alnaes-Katjavivi
  • B. Roald
  • M. Golic
  • R. Dechend
  • C.W.G. Redman
  • A.C. Staff


  • Journal of Reproductive Immunology


  • J Reprod Immunol 132: 42-48


  • Uteroplacental acute atherosis (AA) is a common spiral arterial lesion in preeclampsia, characterized by intramural foam cells, fibrinoid necrosis, and a perivascular immune cell infiltrate. A clear definition of this infiltrate is lacking. Therefore, our aim was to characterize lymphocytes in pre-defined zones regarding spiral arteries with or without AA, from preeclamptic and normotensive pregnancies. Lymphocytes were characterized in decidua basalis samples (n = 91), previously evaluated for AA, around spiral arteries in three pre-defined zones; 1) intramural, 2) perivascular and 3) interstitial. Adjacent serial sections were immunostained to identify different T-cell populations (CD3+, CD8+, FOXP3+), and NK-cells (CD56+). CD3+CD8- T-cells were also identified. These were presumed to be largely CD4+ T-cells. AA was associated with significantly higher intramural CD3+ cell concentrations in Zone 1, in both normotensives and preeclamptics. In preeclamptics only, this difference extended into Zone 2. Similar results were observed for CD3+CD8- cells. AA was also associated with increased intramural CD8+ concentration; however, the number of cells was low. Regulatory T-cells (FOXP3+) were generally scarce or absent in all pre-defined zones. Although intramural NK-cells (CD56+) were scarce, the intramural concentration was significantly lower in spiral arteries with AA compared to without AA in preeclamptics. Our main finding was that CD3+CD8-FoxP3- T-cells were associated with AA. We therefore suggest that T-cells, of a non-regulatory CD4+ subtype, could be involved in the formation of spiral artery AA in the decidua basalis. Whether AA gives rise to, or is partly mediated by increased T-cell concentration around the lesions, remains to be determined.