To compare the changing peripheral levels of immune checkpoint proteins T-cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3)/galectin-9 (Gal-9), and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) over a 9-day period after blastocyst transfer between women who did and did not conceive.
Prospective observational study.
University teaching hospital.
Fifty-one infertile women undergoing day-5 blastocyst transfer.
Serial blood samples obtained on the day of embryo transfer (ET), and 3, 6, and 9 days afterward for measurement of membranous Tim-3 and PD-1 expression on various peripheral lymphocytes by flow cytometry, and serum concentrations of ligands Gal-9 and PD-L1 by ELISA.
Membranous Tim-3 and PD-1 expression on lymphocytes and serum Gal-9 and PD-L1 concentrations and comparison of results between pregnant and nonpregnant women.
In women who conceived, the measurements exhibited three different types of response: [1] a transient and statistically significant reduction of Tim-3NK-like T cells, Tim-3/PD-1CD8 T cells, and Tim-3/PD-1CD4 T cells that returned back to baseline level 9 days after ET; [2] a reduction followed by steady increase to above baseline level on day 9 (Tim-3CD56NK cells); [3] a steady increase in expression after ET to reach a level statistically significantly higher than that of the baseline by day 9 (Tim-3CD56NK cells). Women who did not conceive showed no statistically significant fluctuation in any of the parameters measured across the four time pointswith exception of increased Tim-3 expression on NK cells on day 9.
Successful blastocyst implantation is associated with a reduction of Tim-3 and PD-1 expression in peripheral lymphocytes on days 3 and 6 that is no longer apparent on day 9.

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