Dynamic changes in the lymphocyte subpopulations of pig uterine lymph nodes Academic Article uri icon


  • Cell subpopulations in local lymph nodes draining the uterine tissue of non-pregnant and pregnant pigs were examined by one- and two-colour immunofluorescent staining and flow cytometry using a panel of monoclonal antibodies to pig leucocyte cell surface antigens. Significant changes were observed in the T and B lymphocyte subpopulations and in a subpopulation of non-T or B cells. Activation of lymphocytes in the uterine lymph nodes during cycling in non-pregnant gilts suggests a role for the local immune system in the normal physiology of the uterus. In non-pregnant sows there was evidence of an increase in the CD4/CD8H ratio and in the proportion of B cells in the uterine nodes when compared to gilts with no prior reproductive experience. Pregnancy was shown to induce further dramatic changes in the uterine lymph nodes with an escalation in the proportion of B cells from 48% to 88% and a further increase in the CD4/CD8H ratio. For the first time in swine, low-level CD2 expression is reported on a subpopulation of B cells which are activated during pregnancy. These results provide evidence that the local uterine immune system in pigs plays a role in reproduction and perhaps in the maintenance of normal pregnancy.

publication date

  • June 1996