BACKGROUND The role of the innate immune system in tubal implantation remains undefined. This study compared expression of two key mediators of innate immunity, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) and elafin, in the uterine decidua of women with intrauterine and tubal pregnancies.
METHODS Uterine decidua was collected from women (18–45 years) undergoing surgical termination of pregnancy (n = 7), surgical management of spontaneous abortion (n = 6) and tubal pregnancy (n = 10). Using quantitative RT–PCR and immunohistochemistry, mRNA and protein expression patterns of SLPI and elafin were compared.
RESULTS Relative SLPI mRNA expression was significantly higher in decidua of women with tubal pregnancy (12.37 ± 2.66) compared with spontaneous abortion (5.09 ± 2.22, P < 0.0185). There was no difference demonstrated in elafin mRNA expression. SLPI and elafin protein expression were demonstrated in the decidual leukocyte populations and epithelium. There was no obvious qualitative difference in levels of SLPI and elafin protein expression or their distribution in the uterine decidua of women with termination of pregnancy, spontaneous abortion or tubal pregnancy.
CONCLUSIONS Herein we demonstrate novel differences in gene expression of uterine decidua of tubal pregnancy compared with spontaneous abortion thereby contributing further to current knowledge of mechanisms involved in extrauterine implantation. The altered expression of SLPI may be a consequence of, or predispose to, tubal pregnancy.