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Human amniotic fluid lacks interleukin-2 and interleukin-15 but can interact with the β-chain of the interleukin-2 receptor

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Roger Searle, Stephen Bromage


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The present study investigated whether an explanation for the conflicting reports on the interleukin-2 (IL-2) status of amniotic fluid is due to the presence of IL-15 which shares biological activities with IL-2 and utilizes the IL-2 receptor β-chain. Amniotic fluids from 45 normally progressing pregnancies between 14 and 16 weeks after the last menstrual period were assayed for IL-2 and IL15 by bioassay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The ability of amniotic fluids to induce cytotoxic T lymphoblastoid line-2 (CTLL-2) cell proliferation was demonstrated to be dependent upon bioassay culture conditions. In serum-free medium each amniotic fluid stimulated CTLL-2 proliferation with a mean level of IL-2-like bioactivity of 14.7 ± 2.3 ng/ml but amniotic fluids failed to induce CTLL-2 proliferation in serum-supplemented medium. Treatment with neutralizing anti-IL-2 or anti-IL-15 antibodies failed to inhibit amniotic fluid-induced CTLL cell proliferation in serum-free medium, indicating a lack of IL-2 and IL-15 bioactivity. In contrast, treatment with anti-IL-2 receptor β-chain antibody significantly reduced amniotic fluid-induced proliferation. The lack of IL-2 and IL-15 activity in amniotic fluids was confirmed using ELISA. Although high levels of IL-15 immunoactivity were detected in all samples, specificity controls showed a lack of specific IL-15 immunoactivity in amniotic fluid. Pretreatment of amniotic fluids with 100-500 ng/ml mouse immunoglobulin G abrogated IL-15 immunoactivity, indicating that amniotic fluid contains molecules binding to Fc regions of immunoglobulins and responsible for false ELISA positivity. These studies unequivocally show that amniotic fluid lacks IL-2 and IL-15 but can stimulate CTLL-2 cell proliferation via the IL-2 receptor β-chain. The absence of IL-2 and IL-15 in normal mid-trimester amniotic fluid suggests that the cytokine profile of human pregnancy appears to be associated with a bias against type 1 cytokines within the feto-placental unit.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Searle RF; Bromage SJ; Palmer J; Curry JE; Lang AK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Immunology

Year: 2000

Volume: 99

Issue: 3

Pages: 411-417

ISSN (print): 0019-2805

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2567

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.2000.00978.x

PubMed id: 10712671


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