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J Immunol. 1999 Apr 15;162(8):4496-501.

Modulation of allospecific CTL responses during pregnancy in equids: an immunological barrier to interspecies matings?

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1
James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. jmb8@cornell.edu

Abstract

Maternal immune recognition of the developing conceptus in equine pregnancy is characterized by the strongest and most consistent alloantibody response described in any species, a response directed almost exclusively against paternal MHC class I Ags. This work investigated the cellular immune response to paternal MHC Ags in pregnant and nonpregnant horses and donkeys, and in horses carrying interspecies hybrid mule conceptuses. We observed profound decreases in classical, MHC-restricted, CTL activity to allogeneic paternal cells in peripheral blood lymphocytes from both horse mares and donkey jennets carrying intraspecies pregnancies, compared with cells from nonpregnant controls. This is the first evidence in a randomly bred species for a generalized systemic shift of immune reactivity away from cellular and toward humoral immunity during pregnancy. Surprisingly, mares carrying interspecies hybrid mule conceptuses did not exhibit this transient, pregnancy-associated decrease in CTL activity. The failure of interspecies pregnancy to down-regulate cellular immune responses may be a heretofore-unrecognized, subtle barrier to reproductive success between species.

PMID:
10201987
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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