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The adaptation of the uterine environment into a favorable immunological and inflammatory milieu is a physiological process needed in normal pregnancy. A uterine hyperinflammatory state, whether idiopathic or secondary to hormonal or organic uterine disorders (polycystic ovary syndromes, endometriosis/adenomyosis and fibroids), negatively influences the interactions between decidua and trophoblast, early in gestation, and between chorion and decidua later in pregnancy. Abnormal activation of uterine inflammatory pathways not only contributes to the pathogenesis of the obstetric syndromes, i.e. recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), pre-term delivery (PTD) and pre-eclampsia (PE), but also to correlates with severity. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the knowledge of uterine molecular mechanisms of inflammatory modulation in normal pregnancy and obstetric syndromes (RPL, PTD and PE). In particular, we focus on two regulators of uterine/placental inflammation: the NLRP3 inflammasome and the chemokines decoy receptor D6. We performed comprehensive review of the literature in PubMed and Google Scholar databases from 1994 to 2018. The available evidence suggests that: (i) the expression of inflammasome NLRP3 is increased in the endometrium of women with unexplained RPL, in the chorioamniotic membranes of women with PTL and in the placenta of women with PE; (ii) there is a role for abnormal expression and function of D6 decoy receptor at the feto-maternal interface in cases of RPL and PTD and (iii) the function of placental D6 decoy receptor is impaired in PE. A wider comprehension of the inflammatory molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the obstetric syndromes might lead to the identification of new potential therapeutic targets.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular human reproduction

Publication Date





111 - 121


U.O.C. di Ostetricia e Patologia Ostetrica, Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute della Donna, del Bambino e di Sanità Pubblica, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome 00168, Italy.