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J Clin Immunol. 2012 Apr;32(2):300-11. doi: 10.1007/s10875-011-9627-2. Epub 2011 Dec 24.

Characterizing the pregnancy immune phenotype: results of the viral immunity and pregnancy (VIP) study.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA. Thomas.Kraus@mssm.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The increased risk of morbidity and mortality from certain microbial infections and the demonstrated improvements in the clinical course of some autoimmune diseases support the existence of pregnancy-related alterations in immune status. Elucidating the changes in innate and adaptive immunity during gestation may improve pregnancy outcomes and facilitate the development of targeted therapies for autoimmune diseases.

METHOD:

The Viral Immunity and Pregnancy (VIP) study evaluated over 50 subjects longitudinally at three time points during pregnancy and at two time points post-delivery. Leukocyte enumeration was performed; functional responses of NK cells and CD4 T cells were analyzed, and soluble factors such as cytokines, defensins, and steroid hormones were measured in maternal blood.

RESULTS:

In comparison to the post-partum period, the latter part of pregnancy was characterized by significant increases in blood phagocytes and pDCs and decreases in the number and activity of NK and T cells. Alterations were found in antimicrobial proteins and serum cytokines.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data show that pregnancy is not a period of immunosuppression but an alteration in immune priorities characterized by a strengthening of innate immune barriers and a concomitant reduction in adaptive/inflammatory immunity in the later stages of pregnancy.

PMID:
22198680
DOI:
10.1007/s10875-011-9627-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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