Regulatory T Cells Play a Role in a Subset of Idiopathic Preterm Labor/Birth and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes

Nardhy Gomez-Lopez, Marcia Arenas-Hernandez, Roberto Romero, Derek Miller, Valeria Garcia-Flores, Yaozhu Leng, Yi Xu, Jose Galaz, Sonia S. Hassan, Chaur Dong Hsu, Harley Tse, Carmen Sanchez-Torres, Bogdan Done, Adi L. Tarca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been exhaustively investigated during early pregnancy; however, their role later in gestation is poorly understood. Herein, we report that functional Tregs are reduced at the maternal-fetal interface in a subset of women with idiopathic preterm labor/birth, which is accompanied by a concomitant increase in Tc17 cells. In mice, depletion of functional Tregs during late gestation induces preterm birth and adverse neonatal outcomes, which are rescued by the adoptive transfer of such cells. Treg depletion does not alter obstetrical parameters in the mother, yet it increases susceptibility to endotoxin-induced preterm birth. The mechanisms whereby depletion of Tregs induces adverse perinatal outcomes involve tissue-specific immune responses and mild systemic maternal inflammation, together with dysregulation of developmental and cellular processes in the placenta, in the absence of intra-amniotic inflammation. These findings provide mechanistic evidence supporting a role for Tregs in the pathophysiology of idiopathic preterm labor/birth and adverse neonatal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107874
JournalCell Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • T cells
  • amniotic fluid
  • decidua
  • fetal growth restriction
  • maternal-fetal interface
  • myometrium
  • neonate
  • parturition
  • placenta
  • prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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