Immunoregulatory molecules in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus

Karen Priscilla Tezotto Pendeloski, Rosiane Mattar, Maria Regina Torloni, Caio Perez Gomes, Sandra Maria Alexandre, Silvia Daher
Endocrine 2015, 50 (1): 99-109
Induction of maternal-fetal immune tolerance is essential for the development of normal pregnancy. Impaired expression of costimulatory molecules may lead to intense inflammatory reaction, a mechanism involved in the pathophysiology of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The aim of this study was to investigate whether immunoregulatory molecules are involved in the physiopathology of GDM. This case-control study included 30 healthy pregnant women and 20 GDM patients. Flow cytometry was used to assess peripheral blood T subpopulations (CD4(+) and CD8(+)), the expression of immunoregulatory molecules (CD28, ICOS, CTLA-4, and PD-1) and activation markers (CD69 and HLA-DR). Compared to healthy women, GDM patients had a significantly higher frequency of CD4(+)CD69(+) and CD8(+)CD69(+) T cells; only patients with insulin-treated GDM had increased numbers of CD4(+)HLA-DR(+) T cells. We also observed significantly higher percentages of CD4(+)CD28(+)HLA-DR(+), CD3(+)CD4(+)ICOS(+), CD3(+)CD4(+)PD-1(+), CD8(+)CD28(+)CD69(+), CD8(+)CD28(+)HLA-DR(+), CD8(+)CTLA-4(+)HLA-DR(+), and CD3(+)CD8(+)ICOS(+) T cells and lower frequency of CD3(+)CD4(+)CTLA-4(+), CD3(+)CD8(+)CTLA-4(+), and CD8(+)ICOS(+)HLA-DR(+) T cells in GDM patients compared to healthy pregnant women. This first study assessing costimulatory molecules in GDM patients shows that these patients have exacerbated markers of T cell activation along with CTLA-4 deficiency, findings that indicate that the maternal-fetal tolerance is compromised in these patients.


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