Characterization of immunosuppressive substances in the basic protein fraction of uterine secretions from pregnant ewes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The basic protein fraction of ovine uterine secretions collected late in pregnancy (Days 125-140) contains a substance capable of inhibiting in vitro blastogenic responses of lymphocytes to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) or mixed lymphocyte reactions. In this study, the immunosuppressive substance in the basic protein fraction of uterine secretions was further defined by gel filtration. The immunosuppressive activity resided in a group of high molecular weight proteins eluting at the void volume of Sephacryl S-200 and Sepharose CL-6B columns. For example, incorporation of thymidine by PHA-stimulated lymphocytes incubated with 20, 40, 80, and 120 micrograms/ml of protein from the void volume of Sepharose CL-6B was 65, 28, 2, and 0 percent of control lymphocytes, respectively. Based on polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodeylsulfate (SDS), the immunosuppressive fraction from Sepharose CL-6B chromatography contained aggregates of uterine milk proteins (UTM-proteins) and a pair of proteins running at the top of a 5% (w/v) polyacrylamide gel. Other protein peaks resolved by Sephacryl S-200 and Sepharose CL-6B contained aggregates of UTM-proteins but were not immunosuppressive. The substance inhibiting in vitro lymphocyte function was not of conceptus origin, because it was found in fluid from the ligated uterine horn of unilaterally pregnant ewes and from the uterus of an ovariectomized ewe treated for 60 days with progesterone and estrone.

published proceedings

  • Biol Reprod

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Hansen, P. J., Segerson, E. C., & Bazer, F. W.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Hansen, PJ||Segerson, EC||Bazer, FW

publication date

  • March 1987