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A cross-talk of decidual stromal cells, trophoblast, and immune cells: a prerequisite for the success of pregnancy.


Embryo implantation and formation of a functional placenta are complex processes that require a plethora of regulatory mechanisms involving both mother and embryo cells. Recently, an important role in this complicated cells and factors network was assigned to the decidual stromal cells (DSC) and trophoblast cells. Decidualization includes biochemical changes that trigger DSC to produce a number of factors required for the implantation and induction of immunotolerance in maternal immune system. Immunotolerance is achieved by a cascade of strictly controlled events starting with selective homing of immune cells to the feto-maternal site, regulated proliferation, and predominant differentiation into a regulatory type of immune cells. Furthermore, cytotoxic effector functions are reduced owing to the influence of steroid hormones, factors, cytokines, and inhibitory receptors. Altogether the entire immune system of the mother is switched to tolerogenic functional state which is a prerequisite for the successful maintenance of pregnancy.