Successful pregnancy in humans has been associated with production of IL-4 by T cells at the feto-maternal interface. Soluble HLA-G5 produced by trophoblasts potentially controls the decidual T cell cytokine profile. We studied the effect of HLA-G5 on the cytokine profile of purified human macrophages and Ag-specific T cells in vitro. We demonstrated that HLA-G5 increased production of IL-12 by purified peripheral blood macrophages. Although IL-12 production by macrophages is known to induce IFN-γ production by CD4+ T cells, HLA-G5 increased production of IL-4 but not IFN-γ by CD4+ T cells after Ag presentation by macrophages. We found that this apparent paradox was due to the differential expression of the ILT2 HLA-G5 receptor on activated T cells and macrophages. This receptor was upregulated in the former and downregulated in the latter after Ag presentation and activation of both cell types. This observation was confirmed in situ, where decidual macrophages and T cells are continuously exposed to HLA-G5 produced locally and activated by trophoblast alloantigens. Freshly isolated decidua basalis macrophages expressed lower levels of ILT2 than peripheral blood macrophages from the same pregnant women. They did not spontaneously produce IL-12, whereas freshly isolated decidual CD4+ T cells expressed high levels of activation markers (CD25, HLA-DR, and CD69) as well as ILT2 and spontaneously produced IL-4 but not IFN-γ. Therefore, HLA-G5 could be responsible, at least in part, via its interaction with ILT2, for decidual T cell IL-4 production, known to be crucial for successful pregnancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy