Effects of interleukin-12 administration during the pre- and peri-implantation period on mouse embryofetal development

Michela Reina, Maria Luisa Broccia, Elena Menegola, Anna Maria Di Blasio, Paola Viganò, Erminio Giavini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: The immunological success of pregnancy is thought to depend upon the establishment of a balance between favorable and deleterious cytokines, the current paradigm viewing pregnancy as a T helper (Th)2 cytokine-dependent phenomenon. In this context, a particular attention should be directed to the potential role of interleukin (IL)-12, which promotes the development of Th1 responses, in the induction of adverse pregnancy-related phenomena. Indeed, very few data linked the Th1-inducer IL-12 to the event of abortion. Methods: In this study, we have investigated the maternal and fetal effects of exogenous administration of IL-12 to CD1 (BR) ICR mice during the pre- and peri-implantation period (day 2-6 of pregnancy). Animals have been evaluated for parameters of reproductive performance, embryo and fetal developmental toxicity and maternal toxicity. Results: Intraperitoneal administration of IL-12 at concentrations from 2.5 to 10 μg/kg daily did not result in an increase in the murine abortion rate. A statistically significant, although minimal, decrease in the number of somites were found in the embryos of animals treated with IL-12 at a dose of 10 μg/kg/day. However, developmental parameters at birth were similar between the two groups of animals suggesting that alteration of somites might be a transitory state during treatment. An increased body weight gains and reduced feed and water consumption were observed in the mothers treated with the cytokine. Conclusion: In the present experimental conditions and in this specific strain of mice, IL-12 does not exert adverse effects on reproductive performance and induces an only modest harmful action on mothers and embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Abortion
  • Interleukin-12
  • Murine gestation
  • T helper 1 responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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