Background: Recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure with unknown causes are the controversial issues that are probably related to the immune system.
Objective: To compare circulating NK cells expressing activation and inhibition surface markers between patients with RSA and IVF failure with those of healthy multiparous and successful IVF control women, respectively.
Methods: In this case-control study peripheral blood samples were collected from 43 patients who included 23 women with RSA and 20 with IVF failure, plus 43 healthy control women comprising of 36 normal multiparous women and seven women with successful IVF. The expression of CD69, CD94 and CD161 surface markers on CD56+NK cells were assessed using specific monoclonal antibodies by flowcytometry.
Results: The percentage of NK cells increased significantly in patients with RSA and in women with IVF failure in comparison to healthy multiparous and successful IVF control groups (p<0.001). The overall expression of CD69, CD94, CD161 were also increased significantly on NK cells in both patient groups compared to control groups (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Elevated expression of CD69 and CD161 on NK cells can be considered as immunological risk markers in RSA and IVF failure. However, it is not clear if high expression of CD94 on peripheral blood NK cells is related to abnormal activity of endometrial NK cells.