Past Issue

Volume 13, Number 1, Apr-Jun 2019 Pages: 12-17

The State of Peripheral Blood Natural Killer Cells and Cytotoxicity in Women with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Unexplained Infertility

Azam Azargoon, M.D, 1, 2, Yasaman Mirrasouli, M.D, 2, 3, Mahdieh Shokrollahi Barough, M.Sc, 3, 4, Mehdi Barati, M.Sc, 3, 5, Parviz Kokhaei, Ph.D, 6, 7, *,
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Research Center, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran
Department of Infertility, Amir-AL-Momenin Hospital, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran
Student Research Committee, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran
Cancer Immunotherapy and Regenerative Medicine Department, Breast Cancer Research Center, Motamed Cancer Institute, ACECR, Tehran, Iran
Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Cancer Research Center, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran
Immune and Gene therapy Lab, CCK, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
*Corresponding Address: P.O.Box: 3514799442 Cancer Research Center Semnan University of Medical Sciences Semnan Iran



The prognostic value of peripheral natural killer (pNK) cells, as a screening test in women with recur- rent pregnancy loss (RPL) and unexplained infertility, is still a matter for discussion. The purpose of this study was to compare the percentage of circulating CD56+NK cells, CD69 and perforin markers between women with unexplained infertility and RPL with the healthy control group.

Materials and Methods

In this case-control study, the percentage of CD56+NK cells and activation markers (CD69 and perforin levels) in the peripheral blood were measured in 25 women with unexplained infertility, 24 women with idiopathic RPL and 26 women from the healthy control group, using specific monoclonal antibodies by flow cytometry.


The percentage of CD56+NK cells was significantly higher in patients with infertility in comparison with the healthy control group (P=0.007). There were not significant differences either in the total number of CD56+cells between the RPL group and the control group (P=0.2) or between the RPL group and the infertile group (P=0.36). The percentage of CD69+lymphocytes in RPL group was significantly higher than in the infertility group (P=0.004). There was a statistically significant difference in Perforin levels between RLP and control (P=0.001) as well as RPL and infertile (P=0.002) groups.


An increased percentage of CD56+NK cells in patients with unexplained infertility, an elevated expression of CD69 on NK cells in patients with RPL and infertility and a high level of perforin on CD56+cells in the RPL group might be considered as immunological risk factors in these women.