A Microphysiological Device to Model the Choriodecidual Interface Immune Status during Pregnancy

Lauren Richardson, Enkhtuya Radnaa, Ryan C.V. Lintao, Rheanna Urrabaz-Garza, Ruhi Maredia, Arum Han, Jiaren Sun, Ramkumar Menon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


During human pregnancy the chorion (fetal) lines decidua (maternal) creating the feto-maternal interface. Despite their proximity, resident decidual immune cells remain quiescent during gestation and do not invade the chorion. Infection and infiltration of activated immune cells toward the chorion are often associated with preterm birth. However, the mechanisms that maintain choriodecidual immune homeostasis or compromise immune barrier functions remain unclear. To understand these processes, a two-chamber microphysiological system (MPS) was created to model the human choriodecidual immune interface under normal and infectious conditions in vitro. This MPS has outer (fetal chorion trophoblast cells) and inner chambers (maternal decidual + CD45+ cells [70:30 ratio]) connected by microchannels. Decidual cells were treated with LPS to mimic maternal infection, followed by immunostaining for HLA-DR and HLA-G, immune panel screening by imaging cytometry by time of flight, and immune regulatory factors IL-8 and IL-10, soluble HLA-G, and progesterone (ELISA). LPS induced a proinflammatory phenotype in the decidua characterized by a decrease in HLA-DR and an increase in IL-8 compared with controls. LPS treatment increased the influx of immune cells into the chorion, indicative of chorionitis. Cytometry by time of flight characterized immune cells in both chambers as active NK cells and neutrophils, with a decrease in the abundance of nonproinflammatory cytokine-producing NK cells and T cells. Conversely, chorion cells increased progesterone and soluble HLA-G production while maintaining HLA-G expression. These results highlight the utility of MPS to model choriodecidual immune cell infiltration and determine the complex maternal-fetal crosstalk to regulate immune balance during infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1437-1446
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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