The appropriate balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines is important for the maternal immune tolerance during pregnancy in mammals. Among the various cytokines, interleukin (IL)-10 (IL10) plays an essential role in anti-inflammatory responses, while IL12 is involved in pro-inflammatory responses during pregnancy. However, the roles of IL10 and IL12 in the endometrium during pregnancy have not been studied in pigs. Thus, we investigated the expression of IL10, IL12 (IL12A and IL12B), and their receptors (IL10RA, IL10RB, IL12RB1, and IL12RB2) at the maternal–conceptus interface. IL10, IL12, and their receptors were expressed in the endometrium during the estrous cycle and pregnancy in a pregnancy stage-specific manner. During pregnancy, IL10 expression increased on Day 15, whereas the expression of IL12A and IL12B decreased after the implantation period. IL10 protein was localized to luminal epithelial (LE), stromal cells, and macrophages; IL10RA protein to LE, endothelial, stromal, and T cells; and IL10RB mRNA to LE cells in the endometrium. IL10 and IL10RA proteins and IL10RB mRNA were also localized to chorionic epithelial (CE) cells. In endometrial explants, the expression of IL10RA and IL10RB was induced by estradiol-17β, IL-1β, and/or interferon-γ . Heme oxygenase 1, an IL10-inducible factor, was expressed in the endometrium with the highest levels on Day 30 of pregnancy and was localized to LE and CE cells. These results in pigs suggest that conceptus-derived signals change the endometrial immune environment by regulating the expression of IL10 and IL10 receptors at the maternal–conceptus interface and that IL10 may provide anti-inflammatory conditions for the maternal immune tolerance.
IL10 expression increases at the maternal–conceptus interface in pigs.