Toder V, Fein A, Carp H and Torchinsky A (2003) investigated the role of TNF-alpha, a cytokine involved in inflammation and immunity, in the context of pregnancy loss and embryo maldevelopment. They reviewed the literature on the effects of TNF-alpha on the maternal-fetal interface, embryonic development and implantation. They also discussed the possible mechanisms by which TNF-alpha could either mediate the harmful effects of various stressors on pregnancy outcome or protect the fetoplacental unit from immunological attack. They concluded that TNF-alpha has a complex and dual role in pregnancy and that its effects depend on the timing, dose and source of TNF-alpha production. J Assist Reprod Genet 20 73-81TNF-alpha is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is produced by various cells, including macrophages, lymphocytes, trophoblasts and decidual cells. TNF-alpha has multiple functions in the regulation of immune responses, cell proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. TNF-alpha can also modulate the expression of other cytokines, adhesion molecules and growth factors.
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In normal pregnancy, TNF-alpha is involved in the establishment and maintenance of the maternal-fetal interface, as well as in the embryonic development and implantation. TNF-alpha can promote trophoblast invasion, angiogenesis and vascular remodeling in the placenta. TNF-alpha can also support the survival and differentiation of embryonic cells and tissues.
However, in pathological conditions, such as infection, inflammation, oxidative stress or autoimmune disorders, TNF-alpha can have detrimental effects on pregnancy outcome. TNF-alpha can induce apoptosis and necrosis of trophoblasts and decidual cells, impair placental function and blood flow, and increase the risk of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. TNF-alpha can also cause embryonic malformations, resorption and abortion by affecting cell fate decisions, morphogenesis and organogenesis.The role of TNF-alpha in pregnancy is influenced by several factors, such as the timing, dose and source of TNF-alpha production. TNF-alpha can have different effects depending on the stage of pregnancy and the developmental stage of the embryo. For example, TNF-alpha can promote implantation in the early stages of pregnancy, but impair it in the later stages. TNF-alpha can also have different effects depending on the concentration and duration of exposure. For example, low doses of TNF-alpha can stimulate trophoblast invasion and angiogenesis, but high doses can inhibit them. TNF-alpha can also have different effects depending on the cellular source and target. For example, TNF-alpha produced by maternal immune cells can induce an inflammatory response and damage the fetoplacental unit, but TNF-alpha produced by trophoblasts can induce a protective response and enhance the fetoplacental unit.
Therefore, TNF-alpha has a complex and dual role in pregnancy and embryonic development. TNF-alpha can either mediate the harmful effects of various stressors on pregnancy outcome or protect the fetoplacental unit from immunological attack. The balance between these two roles depends on the fine-tuning of TNF-alpha production and signaling in the maternal-fetal interface. The dysregulation of TNF-alpha production and signaling can lead to pregnancy loss and embryo maldevelopment. 29c81ba772