Immunolocalization of proinflammatory cytokines in myometrium, cervix, and fetal membranes during human parturition at term

Anne Young, Andrew J Thomson, MarieAnne Ledingham, Fiona Jordan, Ian A Greer, Jane E Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Each of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha has been identified in reproductive tissues during labor. The cellular origin of these cytokines is unclear. The aim of this study was to localize these proinflammatory cytokines in myometrium (upper and lower segment), cervix, and fetal membranes at term. Biopsies were taken from women undergoing cesarean section either before or after the onset of labor. Immunohistochemistry was used to localize each of the cytokines IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFalpha. Leukocytes were localized using an antibody to CD45. In myometrium and cervix, immunostaining for IL-1beta was predominantly in leukocytes. In fetal membranes, IL-1beta localized to leukocytes and to the stromal cells of the decidua. In myometrium, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFalpha were restricted to leukocytes, which were present in greater numbers in tissue obtained during labor. In cervix, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFalpha localized to leukocytes and glandular and surface epithelium. IL-8 also localized to cervical stromal cells. In fetal membranes, IL-6 and TNFalpha were expressed by decidual stromal cells, infiltrating leukocytes, and extravillous trophoblasts. In membranes, IL-8 localized to leukocytes in the chorion but was not detected in the amnion. In fetal membranes collected at labor, IL-8 was expressed in decidual stromal cells. Infiltrating leukocytes are a major source of cytokines in uterine tissues during labor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-9
Number of pages5
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2002


  • Adult
  • Cervix Uteri
  • Cytokines
  • Decidua
  • Extraembryonic Membranes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Leukocytes
  • Myometrium
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Trophoblasts


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