We have previously reported that intravenous administration of splenocytes prepared from mice in the early stages of pregnancy promoted embryo implantation in pseudopregnant mice. Since a T-lymphocyte-rich, but not a monocyte-rich preparation from splenocytes enhanced embryo implantation, similar effects of thymocytes from non-pregnant mice on implantation were examined in this study. Thymocytes were prepared from immature 21 day old ICR female mice and the supernatant of a thymocyte suspension (Th-sup) was used as the control. Thymocytes or Th-sup were injected into the caudal vein of recipient mice on pseudopregnancy day 2, and blastocysts were transferred into the endometrial lumen. The implantation rates per recipient were significantly higher in the thymocyte-treated group. ICR mice were then oophorectomized on pseudopregnancy day 3. After 3-day progesterone supplementation, blastocysts were transferred with intravenous injection of thymocytes or Th-sup. Under progesterone supplementation, successful implantations were observed in the thymocyte-treated group, but not in the Th-sup-treated group. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that mRNA expression of leukaemia inhibitory factor in the uterus was induced by thymocyte administration, but not by Th-sup. Thymocytes were divided into two populations, CD4(+/−)CD8(−) group and CD4(−)CD8(+/−) group, by separation columns. On pseudopregnancy day 2, the separated thymocytes in each group or their supernatant were injected into the endometrial stroma of the recipient mice, and blastocysts were transferred into the endometrial lumen. The administration of CD4(+/−) CD8(−) lymphocytes significantly promoted implantation rates, but no effect was observed in the CD4(−) CD8(+/−) group. These findings showed that thymocytes, especially CD4-positive lymphocytes, facilitate embryo implantation, probably by regulating endometrial differentiation.
Copyright (C) 1998, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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