Disruption of fetal-maternal tolerance mechanisms can contribute to pregnancy complications, including spontaneous abortion. Galectin-9 (LGALS9), a tandem repeat lectin associated with immune modulation, is expressed in the endometrium during the mid and late secretory phases and in decidua during human early pregnancy. However, the role of LGALS9 during pregnancy remains poorly understood. We used real-time PCR and immunohistochemical staining to analyze the expression of Lgals9/LGALS9 during mouse gestation as well as in human tissues obtained from normal pregnancy and spontaneous abortions. In mice, three Lgals9 splice variants were detected, the expression of which was differentially regulated during gestation. Furthermore, decidual Lgals9 expression was deregulated in a mouse model of spontaneous abortion, whereas placental levels did not change. We further found that the LGALS9 D5 isoform suppresses interferon gamma production by decidual natural killer cells. In human patients, six Lgals9 splice variants were detected, and a decrease in Lgals9 D5/10 was associated with spontaneous abortion. Altogether, these results show a differential regulation of Lgals9 isoform expression during normal and pathological pregnancies and designate Lgals9 as a potential marker for adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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Vol. 88 • No. 1