Send to

Choose Destination
J Cell Sci. 2005 Apr 15;118(Pt 8):1559-63.

Multi-lineage potential of fetal cells in maternal tissue: a legacy in reverse.

Author information

Department of Dermatology, Tenon Hospital and UPRES EA2396, Saint-Antoine School of Medicine, Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI) University, 75020 Paris, France.


Fetal cells circulate in pregnant women and persist in blood and tissue for decades post-partum. The mother thus becomes chimeric. Factors that may influence such fetal cell microchimerism include histocompatibility, fetal or placental abnormalities, or a reproductive history that includes miscarriage or elective termination. Fetal cell microchimerism is associated with some maternal autoimmune diseases, such as systemic sclerosis. Moreover, a novel population of fetal cells, the pregnancy-associated progenitor cells (PAPCs), appears to differentiate in diseased or injured maternal tissue. The cellular origin of these cells is at present unknown but could be a hematopoietic stem cell, a mesenchymal stem cell, or a novel cell type. Pregnancy therefore results in the acquisition of cells with stem-cell-like properties that may influence maternal health post-partum. Rather than triggering disease, these cells may instead combat it.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center