Uterine natural killer cells (NK cells) are an important part of our immune system. The function of these cells is to recognise and defend against virus-infected cells or cancer cells. Current study results suggest that natural killer cells are among the most important immune cells when trying to become pregnant or during early pregnancy. In the first trimester, 70 per cent of white blood cells in the placenta are NK cells.
International studies have shown that increased killer cells (in the uterus) were found in both the blood and lining of the uterus in women with implantation failure or who had suffered multiple miscarriages. It is possible that increased NK cells in the uterine lining lead to a rejection or prevention of the embryo from implanting.
Plasma cells arise from B lymphocytes and are an important part of our immune system. These cells are activated after contact with a pathogen, produce antibodies and thus help fight the infection on site.
Current studies show that around 10 to 20 per cent of patients with repeated implantation failure, unexplained infertility and unexplained repeated miscarriage have chronic inflammation of the uterine lining (chronic endometritis). This is an inflammation caused by bacteria but is rarely diagnosed because of the mild or non-existent symptoms. Chronic endometritis can be detected indirectly via plasma cells.
The detection of UNK cells and plasma cells take place via a specific immunohistochemical staining and is offered at the Kinderwunsch Institut Dr Loimer.