Effect of Intralipid infusion on peripheral blood T cells and plasma cytokines in women undergoing assisted reproduction treatment

Kerrie L. Foyle, David J. Sharkey, Lachlan M. Moldenhauer, Ella S. Green, Jasmine J. Wilson, Cassandra J. Roccisano, M. Louise Hull, Kelton P. Tremellen, Sarah A. Robertson

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Objectives: Intravenous infusion of Intralipid is an adjunct therapy in assisted reproduction treatment (ART) when immune-associated infertility is suspected. Here, we evaluated the effect of Intralipid infusion on regulatory T cells (Treg cells), effector T cells and plasma cytokines in peripheral blood of women undertaking IVF. Methods: This prospective, observational pilot study assessed Intralipid infusion in 14 women exhibiting recurrent implantation failure, a clinical sign of immune-associated infertility. Peripheral blood was collected immediately prior to and 7 days after intravenous administration of Intralipid. Plasma cytokines were measured by Luminex, and T-cell subsets were analysed by flow cytometry. Results: A small increase in conventional CD8+ T cells occurred after Intralipid infusion, but no change was seen in CD4+ Treg cells, or naïve, memory or effector memory T cells. Proliferation marker Ki67, transcription factors Tbet and RORγt, and markers of suppressive capacity CTLA4 and HLA-DR were unchanged. Dimensionality-reduction analysis using the tSNE algorithm confirmed no phenotype shift within Treg cells or other T cells. Intralipid infusion increased plasma CCL2, CCL3, CXCL8, GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-6, IL-21, TNF and VEGF. Conclusion: Intralipid infusion elicited elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines, and a minor increase in CD8+ T cells, but no change in pro-tolerogenic Treg cells. Notwithstanding the limitation of no placebo control, the results do not support Intralipid as a candidate intervention to attenuate the Treg cell response in women undergoing ART. Future placebo-controlled studies are needed to confirm the potential efficacy and clinical significance of Intralipid in attenuating cytokine induction and circulating CD8+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1328
Number of pages17
JournalClinical and Translational Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2021


  • cytokines
  • embryo implantation
  • infertility
  • lipid emulsion
  • T cells
  • uterus


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