Reproductive Immunobiology Research Group

Reproductive Immunobiology Research Group

Reproductive immunology is one of the branches of immunology that deals with protective responses related to fertility.
Five hundred million years ago, when the modern immune system was formed in the jawed vertebrates, the first challenge for immune system was to devise ways to identify its own antigens from foreign antigens.
Following the resolution of this developmental problem by the removal of self-reactive clones of B and T cells in the bone marrow and thymus, the immune system in mammals faced a more serious challenge, which required the preservation of the offspring and acceptance of the semi-alien embryo by the maternal immune system.
And this evolutionary problem was solved with deployment of a complex system of safety regulation networks in pregnancy.
The implantation of embryo in the uterus and its development until delivery, despite the presence of a competent and active immune system in the mother's body, is a major issue in reproductive immunology.
The maternal immune system is so complex that, despite extensive studies in the last seven decades, many questions in this area remain unanswered.
Today, researchers believe that immunological factors account for more than 50% of all abortions.
Studies show that despite the identification of fetal antigens, the mother's immune system reaches a new level of equilibrium that not only stops miscarriage but also helps the fetus to grow and develop.
Nevertheless, serious disorders in immune system during pregnancy can prevent the implantation of the fetus or cause the fetus to be aborted, a phenomenon that is expected of an active and competent immune system.
Therefore, it seems that by studying the maternal immune system during pregnancy, an effective solution can be found to prevent abortion and embryo implantation failure.

Recent research has also shown the undeniable role of the immune system in the development and progression of many diseases related to fertility, including endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, preeclampsia, premature ovarian failure, and preterm labor.
Therefore, it seems that a well-balanced immune system plays a key role in preventing the onset or progression of these diseases.
The study of immunological disorders in these diseases, especially endometriosis, and the provision of immunological treatment strategies are among the other research objectives of this group.

Another vexing problem is studying how the immune system is modulated during pregnancy, a topic that has been the subject of much scientific research in the field of reproductive immunology.
In this regard, a wide range of mechanisms, networks and mediators, including hormones, cytokines and chemokines have been identified and introduced.
Despite this fact, based on specific mechanisms, many of these networks and cellular and molecular mediators overlap with each other, and therefore it is not clear which of these complex and multilayer networks are the main initiator of modulating the immune system and setting up the next regulatory cascades.
Moreover, endometrial stem cells seem to be one of the main options in modulating a new level of immune balance during pregnancy.
The group's research shows that endometrial stem cells can alter the functional aspects of many cells involved in pregnancy, including NK, Treg, dendritic cells, and Th17 cells for a successful pregnancy.
Therefore, the study of the potential of endometrial stem cells in regulating the immune system during pregnancy and the potential role of abnormalities of these cells in recurrent miscarriage and implantation failure are other research perspectives of this group.

It seems that placentation mechanisms have fundamental similarities with tumorigenesis.
Resistance to apoptosis, the use of oncogenes and growth factors, common signaling pathways, rapid cell growth and proliferation, and the use of new vascular networks are some of the commonalities of the two phenomena.
During placental development, the immune system controls the proliferation of trophoblast cells to prevent them from invading other tissues, whereas cell invasion and proliferation in cancer is largely an uncontrolled process.
According to the above explanations, another research trend of the Reproductive Immunobiology Research Group is the discovery of novel tumor markers for targeted immunotherapy taking advantage of reproductive immunology findings.
From the viewpoint of this Group, "pregnancy is a controlled cancer and cancer is a borderless pregnancy."

All in all, the main activities of the Research Group are summarized in the following chief areas:
  • Evaluation of immunological mechanisms leading to maternal immune tolerance and evaluation of immune disorders in pregnancy-related diseases such as recurrent miscarriage, recurrent implantation failure and endometriosis in order to provide new immunological interventions in diagnosis and treatment
  • Cancer immunotherapy based on novel cells and antigens derived from placenta and embryonic membranes

Group members
  • Dr. Amir Hassan Zarnani
  • Dr. Maryam Tavakoli
  • Dr. Kambiz Gilani
  • Dr. Soheila Ansaripour
  • Dr. Mahmood Jeddi Tehrani

Group head: Dr. Amir Hassan Zarnani


پژوهشگاه فناوری های نوین علوم زیستی جهاد دانشگاهی - ابن سینا با هدف دستیابی به دانش فنی در زمینه فناوری‌های نوین زیستی از طریق انجام طرح‌های مطالعاتی و پژوهشی آزمایشگاهی و بالینی، از سال ۱۳۷۷ فعالیت خود را آغاز کرد.

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