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Trapping Immune Cells In The Uterus Prevents Anti-fetal Immunity

Date:
June 24, 2009
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Why the immune system of a pregnant woman does not attack her developing fetus is one of most remarkable features of pregnancy, and several underlying mechanisms have been described. Scientists have now identified a new mechanism to explain why the mouse maternal immune system does not attack the fetuses.

Why the immune system of a pregnant woman does not attack her developing fetus is one of most remarkable features of pregnancy, and several underlying mechanisms have been described. However, Adrian Erlebacher and colleagues, at the New York University School of Medicine, New York, have now identified a new mechanism to explain why the mouse maternal immune system does not attack the fetuses.

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Once an embryo implants into the wall of the uterus, a cellular structure known as the decidua forms around the embryo and placenta. In the study, the formation of the decidua was found to prevent immune sentinel cells known as DCs from leaving the maternal/fetal interface and traveling to the local lymph nodes to activate an immune response toward the fetus.

The authors therefore suggest that impaired formation or function of the human decidua might allow DCs to leave the decidua to initiate an aggressive immune response toward the fetus, something that might contribute to poor pregnancy outcomes.

In an accompanying commentary, Bali Pulendran, at Emory Vaccine Center at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, discusses how this new research affects current thinking about avoiding immune surveillance at the maternal/fetal interface.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mary K. Collins, Chin-Siean Tay, and Adrian Erlebacher. Dendritic cell entrapment within the pregnant uterus inhibits immune surveillance of the maternal/fetal interface in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 22, 2009

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Trapping Immune Cells In The Uterus Prevents Anti-fetal Immunity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622171403.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2009, June 24). Trapping Immune Cells In The Uterus Prevents Anti-fetal Immunity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622171403.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Trapping Immune Cells In The Uterus Prevents Anti-fetal Immunity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622171403.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

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