Distribution patterns of immunocompetent cells in the pregnant mouse uteri carrying allogeneic mouse and xenogeneic vole embryos

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Mouse and vole embryos were allogeneically and xenogeneically transferred into pseudopregnant CD-1 and immunodeficient (scid) female mice, and we investigated the distribution of immunocompetent cells, uterine natural killer (uNK) cells, mast cells and macrophages, in the implantation sites on days 6, 7 and 8 of gestation. The survival rate of the vole embryos decreased gradually with increased gestation, but the rate was higher in the scid uteri than in the CD-1 mice. The number of uNK cells increased markedly at the mesometrial triangle and the outer decidual area in the CD-1 uteri containing vole embryos; by contrast, scid uteri having vole embryos showed almost the same number as those having mouse embryos. Mast cells were present in large numbers at the myometrium, but rarely in the decidua in all types of pregnant uteri. Cells at the myometrium were more numerous in xenogeneic than in allogeneic transfer. Many mast cells appeared in the inner decidua where xenogeneically transferred vole embryos were dead and aborted. Macrophages were present in the outer decidua and myometria in all types of pregnant uteri, and their distribution pattern did not change even in aborted uterine sites. These results suggest: (1) the response of macrophages to dead embryos is completely inhibited, (2) uNK cells and mast cells increase near dead and aborted embryos, and (3) the increment in uNK cells responding to xenogeneic embryos is suppressed in scid mice, and the suppression may contribute partly to survival of the embryos.

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