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Macrophages and not granulocytes are involved in cervical ripening

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yoshiharu Sakamoto, Dr Judith Bulmer, Dr Roger Searle, Professor Steve RobsonORCiD



To clarify the role of leucocytes in human cervical ripening and dilatation, cervical biopsies were obtained from six non-pregnant women, eight women undergoing early termination of pregnancy, 18 pregnant women undergoing elective Caesarean section at term (both with and without a ripe cervix as determined by Bishop score) and 11 women after term vaginal delivery. Leucocytes were localised by immunohistochemistry labelling and quantified in subepithelial and deep stromal areas. CD45+ leucocytes were more numerous in the subepithelial area of the cervix than in the deep stroma in all groups (P < 0.01). CD14+ macrophages and CD15+ granulocytes were increased in both the subepithelial and deep stromal areas only in the vaginal delivery group (P < 0.01). The number of macrophages in the ripening cervix (Bishop score above 4) was higher than in the unripe cervix (Bishop score 4 or less; P < 0.05) with no differences in other leucocyte populations. CD3+ CD8+ T cells in the subepithelial area were reduced in late pregnancy and after vaginal delivery (P < 0.01), but showed no relationship to Bishop score. Macrophages and granulocytes may be involved in the process of cervical dilatation, but macrophage infiltration into the ripening cervix before labour suggests their role in the ripening process. Reduced numbers of CD3+ CD8+ T-lymphocytes in late pregnancy and after vaginal delivery suggests that local immunity is down-regulated in the late pregnancy period. Regional differences in leucocyte subpopulations in the cervix indicate that leucocyte infiltration is likely to be regulated by local factors. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sakamoto Y, Moran P, Bulmer JN, Searle RF, Robson SC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Reproductive Immunology

Year: 2005

Volume: 66

Issue: 2

Pages: 161-173

Print publication date: 01/08/2005

ISSN (print): 0165-0378

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7603

Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.jri.2005.04.005

PubMed id: 16045998


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