Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30374017
Nat Commun 2018 10;9(1):4492
Determining the function of uterine lymphocytes is challenging because of the dynamic changes in response to sex hormones and, during pregnancy, to the invading foetal trophoblast cells. Here we provide a genome-wide transcriptome atlas of mouse uterine group 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) at mid-gestation. Tissue-resident EomesCD49a NK cells (trNK), which resemble human uterine NK cells, are most abundant during early pregnancy, and have gene signatures associated with TGF-β responses and interactions with trophoblast, epithelial, endothelial, smooth muscle cells, leucocytes and extracellular matrix. Conventional NK cells expand late in gestation and may engage in crosstalk with trNK cells involving IL-18 and IFN-γ. EomesCD49a ILC1s dominate before puberty, and specifically expand in second pregnancies when the expression of the memory cell marker CXCR6 is upregulated. These results identify trNK cells as the cellular hub of uterine group 1 ILCs, and mark CXCR6 ILC1s as potential memory cells of pregnancy.