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Title: The role of IL-33 and ST2 in early pregnancy
Author: Alyahyaei, Zahraa
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 8117
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Regulation of the growth and differentiation of trophoblast cells is critical for successful embryo implantation and placentation. Cytokines are key players in these processes, as well as modulating the maternal immune response to prevent rejection of the conceptus. This thesis focused on the investigation of the cytokine interleukin (IL) - 33 and its receptor, ST2. ST2 has two isoforms, a functional cell surface receptor (ST2L) and a soluble decoy receptor (sST2). Previous work in this laboratory had shown that the human placenta expresses both IL-33 and sST2 at term. The aim of this thesis was to investigate IL-33 and ST2 in early pregnancy, the time when trophoblast is at its most active, with a view to better understanding their role. IL-33 and ST2 mRNA and protein were examined in 14 first trimester placentas from 6-12 weeks of gestation. IL-33 was localized to cells in the villous stroma, whereas ST2 was present in the syncytiotrophoblast, villous cytotrophoblast and the invasive extravillous cytotrophoblast of the cell columns. Secretion of sST2, but not IL-33, by the placenta was found. Investigation of pre-implantation embryos showed the presence of ST2, but not IL-33 protein. Decidualized endometrium was investigated as a potential source of IL-33 and sST2 at the maternal-fetal interface and, although mRNA for both was present, no protein could be found. The key finding was that sST2, rather than ST2L, was the predominant isoform in the placenta. This led us to reconsider the hypothesis that IL-33/ST2 interactions in the placenta are important for successful pregnancy and raised the possibility that they may have independent roles. Using trophoblast cell lines as a model, it was shown that sST2 binds to trophoblast cells, significantly inhibits their proliferation and stimulates their invasion in vitro. This is the first report of this novel role for sST2 in pregnancy. Thus these studies have shown that sST2 may play an important role in implantation and placentation through controlling trophoblast invasion.
Supervisor: Sargent, Ian Sponsor: Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) ; Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Obstetrics ; and ; Gynaecology ; first trimester ; placenta