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Immune System Linked to Miscarriage

Activation of key receptor leads to loss of embryo, study finds

THURSDAY, July 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- New information about how a woman's immune system can cause early pregnancy loss is outlined in a Harvard School of Public Health study in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In research with mice, the Harvard scientists found that activation of an immune cell receptor called CD40 in early pregnancy results in an inflammatory process that causes loss of the embryo.

This inflammatory process caused a decrease in progesterone, the hormone that's responsible for preparing the body for pregnancy and maintaining it until birth.

The study authors concluded that immune system interference with reproductive hormones may contribute to human infertility, especially in cases of recurrent pregnancy loss.

The finding that there's a link between the immune system and reproductive hormone secretion may offer scientists a new target for treating women who suffer repeated and early pregnancy loss.

More information

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more about repeated miscarriage.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, news release, July 1, 2004
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