Elevated Birth Rates in CD62L (L-Selectin)-Deficient BALB/c Mice: Potential Involvement of NK Cells


Background: L-selectin (CD62L) is a cell surface adhesion molecule recently shown to play a critical role in determining endometrial receptivity and implantation in humans. By contrast, the L-selectin ligand is missing from the rodent endometrium. Interestingly, CD62L (L-selectin)-deficient BALB/c mice delivered significantly higher numbers of viable offspring than wild type controls via mechanisms yet to be defined. Methods: Nulliparous CD62L-deficient (8-10-week-old, n = 25) or wild type (n = 18) females were mated with 43 age-matched males. Animals were sacrificed at gestational day (GD) 9.5. Tissue samples were analyzed by immunostaining and flow cytometry. Results: Mating wild type and CD62L-deficient BALB/c mice revealed that the increased birth rate was due to the CD62L deficiency in females. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated significant differences in the number of natural killer (NK) cells present in the uterus of pregnant CD62L- deficient mice compared to controls. Immunohistochemistry confirmed NK cell accumulation at the fetal-maternal interface. Discussion: Uterine NK cells have been shown to peak at GD 8-10 at the fetal-maternal interface. NK cells might regulate mouse fertility rates by facilitating development of the maternal spiral arteries, thereby stimulating the formation of larger vessels that facilitate intrauterine survival, however, their role is not obligate to spiral artery development. Conclusions: Diminished CD62L expression modified immune cell trafficking into the uterus of pregnant mice generating a microenvironment primarily dominated by NK cells resulting in improved embryonic survival rates.

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Farkas, B. , Bodis, J. , Mangold, A. , Angyal, A. , Boldizsar, F. , Mikecz, K. and Glant, T. (2014) Elevated Birth Rates in CD62L (L-Selectin)-Deficient BALB/c Mice: Potential Involvement of NK Cells. Open Journal of Immunology, 4, 148-156. doi: 10.4236/oji.2014.44017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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