The human placenta is a dynamic organ that modulates physiological adaptations to pregnancy. To define the immunological signature of the human placenta, we performed unbiased profiling of secreted immune factors from human chorionic villi isolated from placentas at mid and late stages of pregnancy. We show that placental trophoblasts constitutively secrete the inflammasome-associated cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, which is blocked by NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors and occurs without detectable gasdermin D cleavage. We further show that placenta-derived IL-1β primes monocytes for inflammasome induction to protect against Listeria monocytogenes infection. Last, we show that the human placenta responds to L. monocytogenes infection through additional inflammasome activation and that inhibition of this pathway sensitizes villi to infection. Our results thus identify the inflammasome as an important mechanism by which the human placenta regulates systemic and local immunity during pregnancy to defend against L. monocytogenes infection.

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