Analysis of T-lymphocyte subsets after phytohemagglutinin stimulation in normal and type 1 diabetic mothers and their infants

C. Giordano, R. De Maria, A. Mattina, G. Stassi, M. Todaro, A. Pugliese, G. Galluzzo, R. M. Botta, A. Galluzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PROBLEM: Our aim was to investigate the immunological status of diabetic pregnancy, which is an overlap of diabetic immunity abnormalities and the immunological modifications normally occurring during pregnancy. METHOD: We studied lymphocyte subpopulations and lymphokine production, after 96 h of phytohemagglutinin (PHA) stimulation, from normal and Type I diabetic pregnant women at delivery time and from the respective cord blood. RESULTS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from both normal and Type I diabetic mothers showed an increase in CD8+ and a decrease in CD4+ cells compared to the respective cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMC). Moreover, Type I PBMC showed a lower number of 'activated' CD3+ DR+ cells and a higher number of CD8+ CD25+ cells with respect to normal women, which may reflect the dysregulatory pattern due to the autoimmune condition. Type I CBMC showed a big increase in the number of CD4+ Leu8+ cells, a cell subpopulation characterized by inhibitory activity. Finally, as regards lymphokine release in culture supernatants, type I diabetes seemed to be associated with an overproduction of IL1 and IL6, although the latter increase is less evident in CBMC cultures. CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows that diabetic pregnancy is associated with major alterations of cell- mediated immunity leading to a state of immunodepression. Moreover, our study suggests that the maternal immunological status influences fetal immunity, as demonstrated by the increase in the number of regulatory cells and by the altered pattern of lymphokine production (IL1 and IL6) by lymphocytes derived from diabetic CBMC. The latter phenomenon perfectly mirrors maternal PBMC characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • cell-mediated immunity
  • Cord blood T lymphocytes
  • cytokines and pregnancy
  • T-lymphocyte subsets in pregnancy
  • Type I diabetic pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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