The role of viral infections in adverse pregnancy outcomes has gained interest in recent years. Innate immune pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and their signalling pathways that yield a cytokine output in response to pathogenic stimuli have been postulated to link infection at the maternal-fetal interface and adverse pregnancy outcomes. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression and functional response of nucleic acid ligand responsive Toll-like receptors (TLR3, 7, 8 and 9), and retinoic acid-inducible gene 1 (RIG-I)-like receptors (RIG-I, MDA5 and LGP2) in human term gestation-associated tissues (placenta, choriodecidua and amnion) using an explant model. Immunohistochemistry revealed that these PRRs were expressed by the term placenta, choriodecidua and amnion. A statistically significant increase in interleukin (IL)-6 and/or IL-8 production in response to specific agonists for TLR3 (Poly(I:C); low and high molecular weight), TLR7 (Imiquimod), TLR8 (ssRNA40) and RIG-I/MDA5 (Poly(I:C)LyoVec) was observed; there was no response to a TLR9 (ODN21798) agonist. A hierarchical clustering approach was used to compare the response of each tissue type to the ligands studied and revealed that the placenta and choriodecidua generate a more similar IL-8 response, while the choriodecidua and amnion generate a more similar IL-6 response to nucleic acid ligands. These findings demonstrate that responsiveness via TLR3, TLR7, TLR8 and RIG-1/MDA5 is a broad feature of human term gestation-associated tissues with differential responses by tissue that might underpin adverse obstetric outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- hierarchical clustering
- Reproductive Immunology
- Pattern Recognition Receptors