qPCR primer sequences. from A pronounced uterine pro-inflammatory response at parturition is an ancient feature in mammals

Regulating maternal immunity is necessary for successful human pregnancy. Whether this is needed in mammals with less invasive placentation is subject to debate. Indeed, the short gestation times in marsupials have been hypothesized to be due to a lack of immune regulation during pregnancy. Alternatively, the maternal marsupial immune system may be unstimulated in the absence of a highly invasive placenta. Transcripts encoding pro-inflammatory cytokines were found to be overrepresented in the whole uterine transcriptome at terminal pregnancy in the opossum, Monodelphis domestica. To investigate this further, immune gene transcripts were quantified throughout opossum gestation. Transcripts encoding pro-inflammatory cytokines remained relatively low during pre- and peri-attachment pregnancy stages. Levels dramatically increased late in gestation, peaking within 12 h prior to parturition. These results mirror the spike of inflammation seen at eutherian parturition but not at attachment or implantation. Our results are consistent with the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines at parturition being an ancient and conserved birth mechanism in therian mammals.