Date of Award

Winter 12-13-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor


Second Advisor


Third Advisor



Maternal Immunity: Preimplantation preparation and the role of CCL19

An Abstract of the thesis by

Ashleigh R. Elbert

The maternal uterus in mammals undergoes extensive remodeling in preparation for implantation of the semi-allogenic embryo. Activation of the T cell homing receptor, CCR7, regulates multiple aspects of adaptive immunity. Genetic deletion of CCR7 reduces T regulatory (T Reg) cell migration into mouse uteri and decreases embryo implantation. CCL19 and CCL21 are the sole ligands for CCR7. It is hypothesized that CCL19 expression could attract T reg cells into the pre-implantation uterus and provide local immune suppression prior to implantation. Sprague Dawley rat uteri were removed from pregnant rats at days 3-6 of pregnancy. To determine the spatial distribution of this ligand, rat uteri were fixed, embedded in paraffin and uterine sections were analyzed by immunochemistry. The influence of sex steroids on the spatial distribution of CCL19 expression was evaluated in uterine sections from rats at each day (3-6) of pregnancy. Upon spatial analysis, at day 3 of pregnancy CCL19 expression was limited to the glandular epithelium and was otherwise absent from the stroma. Expression appeared in the anti-mesometrial uterine stroma at day 4, 5 and 6 of pregnancy and appeared most robust at day 6. These results suggest that unlike the constitutive expression of this ligand in primary and secondary lymphoid tissue, the spatial distribution and expression of CCL19 is regulated by female sex steroids that fluctuate in the uterus during preparation for implantation, thus it can be suggested that expression of CCL19 is modulated hormonally to create a habitable environment for the attachment of the semi-allogenic embryo.



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