Effects of macrophage depletion on characteristics of cervix remodeling and pregnancy in CD11b-dtr mice

S M Yellon, E Greaves, A C Heuerman, A E Dobyns, J E Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


To test the hypothesis that macrophages are essential for remodeling the cervix in preparation for birth, pregnant homozygous CD11b-dtr mice were injected with diphtheria toxin (DT) on days 14 and 16 postbreeding. On day 15 postbreeding, macrophages (F4/80+) were depleted in cervix and kidney, but not in liver, ovary, or other non-reproductive tissues in DT-compared to saline-treated dtr mice or wild-type controls given DT or saline. Within 24 h of DT-treatment, the density of cell nuclei and macrophages declined in cervix stroma in dtr mice versus controls, but birefringence of collagen, as an indication of extracellular cross-linked structure, remained unchanged. Only in the cervix of DT-treated dtr mice was an apoptotic morphology evident in macrophages. DT-treatment did not alter the sparse presence or morphology of neutrophils. By day 18 postbreeding, macrophages repopulated the cervix in DT-treated dtr mice so that the numbers were comparable to that in controls. However, at term, evidence of fetal mortality without cervix ripening occurred in most dtr mice given DT-a possible consequence of treatment effects on placental function. These findings suggest that CD11b+ F4/80+ macrophages are important to sustain pregnancy and are required for processes that remodel the cervix in preparation for parturition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1394
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number5
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction.


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