The effect on MHC class II expression and apoptosis in placenta by IFNγ administration

Zhe Liu, Yun Chen, Ying Yang, Jing Pian Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


To investigate the possible mechanisms by which interferon gamma (IFNγ) affects pregnancy, the expression of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens and cleavage of DNA that is a hallmark of apoptosis in the placenta were examined by molecular biochemical techniques, and progesterone levels were examined by radioimmunoassay. The semi-quantitative analysis with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction showed that the expression of MHC class II antigen in placenta increased when rabbits were treated with high doses of IFNγ compared with the control. However, immunohistochemical study suggested that IFNγ did not affect MHC class II expression in trophoblasts, but had a stimulatory effect on its expression in maternal decidua and placental lymphocytes. DNA fragmentation analysis and terminal deoxynucleotidyl mediated-deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay indicated that the cleavage of DNA was detected in the placenta in both normal and IFNγ-treated pregnancy. Quantitative analysis of apoptotic cells revealed an increase in trophoblasts treated with IFNγ compared to those in normal pregnancy. Moreover, progesterone, which plays an important role in pregnancy, was reduced significantly in rabbits treated with IFNγ. The results suggested that IFNγ exerted its deleterious effect on pregnancy by inducing apoptosis in trophoblasts and by reducing the production of progesterone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • IFNγ
  • MHC II
  • Placenta
  • Progesterone
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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