We describe a murine model of early pregnancy failure induced by systemic activation of the CD40 immune costimulatory pathway. Although fetal loss involved an NK cell intermediate, it was not due to lymphocyte-mediated destruction of the fetus and placenta. Rather, pregnancy failure resulted from impaired progesterone synthesis by the corpus luteum of the ovary, an endocrine defect in turn associated with ovarian resistance to the gonadotropic effects of prolactin. Pregnancy failure also required the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α and correlated with the luteal induction of the prolactin receptor signaling inhibitors suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (Socs1) and Socs3. Such links between immune activation and reproductive endocrine dysfunction may be relevant to pregnancy loss and other clinical disorders of reproduction.
Adrian Erlebacher, Dorothy Zhang, Albert F. Parlow, Laurie H. Glimcher