Immunosequencing and Profiling of T Cells at the Maternal-Fetal Interface of Women with Preterm Labor and Chronic Chorioamnionitis

Derek Miller, Roberto Romero, Luke Myers, Yi Xu, Marcia Arenas-Hernandez, Jose Galaz, Cinque Soto, Bogdan Done, Angelica Quiroz, Awoniyi O. Awonuga, David R. Bryant, Adi L. Tarca, Nardhy Gomez-Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


T cells are implicated in the pathophysiology of preterm labor and birth, the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. Specifically, maternal decidual T cells infiltrate the chorioamniotic membranes in chronic chorioamnionitis (CCA), a placental lesion considered to reflect maternal anti-fetal rejection, leading to preterm labor and birth. However, the phenotype and TCR repertoire of decidual T cells in women with preterm labor and CCA have not been investigated. In this study, we used phenotyping, TCR sequencing, and functional assays to elucidate the molecular characteristics and Ag specificity of T cells infiltrating the chorioamniotic membranes in women with CCA who underwent term or preterm labor. Phenotyping indicated distinct enrichment of human decidual effector memory T cell subsets in cases of preterm labor with CCA without altered regulatory T cell proportions. TCR sequencing revealed that the T cell repertoire of CCA is characterized by increased TCR richness and decreased clonal expansion in women with preterm labor. We identified 15 clones associated with CCA and compared these against established TCR databases, reporting that infiltrating T cells may possess specificity for maternal and fetal Ags, but not common viral Ags. Functional assays demonstrated that choriodecidual T cells can respond to maternal and fetal Ags. Collectively, our findings provide, to our knowledge, novel insight into the complex processes underlying chronic placental inflammation and further support a role for effector T cells in the mechanisms of disease for preterm labor and birth. Moreover, this work further strengthens the contribution of adaptive immunity to the syndromic nature of preterm labor and birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1098
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


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