Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pregnancy generates maternal immune-suppressive cells that protect the fetus

Date:
September 26, 2012
Source:
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Summary:
A new study suggests it might be possible to develop vaccines to prevent premature birth and other pregnancy complications. If so, such vaccines would be the first intended to stimulate the subset of regulatory CD4 T cells that suppress the immune response.

A new study published online in the journal Nature suggests it might be possible to develop vaccines to prevent premature birth and other pregnancy complications. If so, such vaccines would be the first intended to stimulate the subset of regulatory CD4 T cells that suppress the immune response.

Current vaccines are specifically designed to stimulate T cell subsets that activate the immune response.

The study, led by a researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, shows the immune system of a pregnant mother stimulates cells that selectively prevent attack and rejection of fetal tissues recognized as being foreign. Importantly, these pregnancy-induced, immune suppressive regulatory T cells are retained after delivery, and rapidly re-accumulate and provide protection in subsequent pregnancy.

Successful pregnancy requires the ability to tolerate antigens inherited from the father. These antigens evoke an immune response by the mother's immune system, which considers these antigens foreign. If the mother gets pregnant again, these T cells remember the first pregnancy and provide additional protection to the fetus from being attacked by the mother's own immune system.

"We show definitively immune suppressive regulatory CD4 cells can form immunological memory," says Sing Sing Way, MD PhD, a physician researcher in Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children's and the study's senior author. "These memory features shown in pregnancy illustrate why complications become reduced in subsequent compared with primary pregnancy, but can also be broadly applied to new ways to better control the stringent balance between immune stimulation and suppression for preventing autoimmune diseases."

Way and his colleagues demonstrate that the protective program during pregnancy is established by the expansion and retention of regulatory T cells that specifically recognize fetal antigens.

"Knowing this, we can design vaccines that specifically target immune suppressive T cells," explains Dr. Way. "Current vaccines exclusively target immune activating T cells. With the polio vaccine, for example, vaccination is designed to induce long-lasting immune-activating cells that eradicate the virus with later infection. A vaccine that targets the expansion and retention of immune suppressive cells would allow selective silencing of undesired responses and prevent them from attacking the body."

Having shown that these cells can generate and retain immunological memory might make it possible to develop vaccines against autoimmune disorders -- such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis and type 1 diabetes -- in which the body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissues.

Dr. Way conducted the study in mouse models of pregnancy with colleagues from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. This research was supported by NIH-NIAID awards R01AI087830 and R01AI100934 (S.S.W.), and NIH-NIDDK award F30DK084674 (J.H.R.). S.S.W. holds an Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jared H. Rowe, James M. Ertelt, Lijun Xin, Sing Sing Way. Pregnancy imprints regulatory memory that sustains anergy to fetal antigen. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11462

Cite This Page:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Pregnancy generates maternal immune-suppressive cells that protect the fetus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926133103.htm>.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (2012, September 26). Pregnancy generates maternal immune-suppressive cells that protect the fetus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926133103.htm
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Pregnancy generates maternal immune-suppressive cells that protect the fetus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926133103.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins