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Embryotoxic cytokines-Potential roles in embryo loss and fetal programming.

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eMediNexus    10 January 2018

Embryotoxic cytokines can be elevated in plasma and reproductive tract tissues in inflammatory conditions including infection, diabetes, obesity, PCOS and endometriosis. A new article published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology reported that through effects on gene expression and the cell stress response, cytokines elicit an epigenetic impact with consequences over placental development and fetal growth, which in turn affect metabolic phenotype and long-term health of offspring. This article elaborated that pro-survival cytokines, such as GM-CSF, CSF1, LIF, HB-EGF and IGFII, support embryos to develop optimally. While pro-inflammatory cytokines, like TNF, TRAIL and IFNG, evoke cell stress, impair cell survival and retard blastocyst development, and when at sufficiently high concentrations, can cause embryo demise. On the other hand, embryotrophic factors may mitigate against and protect from these adverse effects. Therefore, it was stated that the balance between embryotrophic and embryotoxic cytokines can impart effects on embryo development and implantation, and has the potential to contribute to endometrial biosensor function to mediate embryo selection. In summary, this article emphasized upon the need to investigate whether excessive embryotoxic cytokines contribute to infertility and recurrent implantation failure in women, and compromised reproductive performance.

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