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Title: The biological and clinical significance of the maternal immune response to fetal antigens
Author: Lissauer, David Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 0432
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2012
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Tolerance of the semi-allogeneic fetus presents a significant challenge to the maternal immune system. The effect of pregnancy on maternal cellular immunity was established by assessing maternal effector and regulatory T-cell subsets during human pregnancy. This demonstrated that an increase in maternal peripheral regulatory T-cells or a shift from a Th1 to Th2 phenotype was not a requirement for normal pregnancy. We also determined the profound impact of maternal Cytomegalovirus seropositivity on maternal T- cell dynamics. T-cells with specificity for fetal epitopes have been detected in women with a history of pregnancy but it has been thought that such fetal specific cells were deleted during pregnancy. We identified, using MHC-peptide multimers, fetal-specific CD8 T-cells in half of all pregnancies. The fetal-specific response increased during pregnancy and persisted in the post natal period. Fetal-specific cells demonstrated an effector memory phenotype and retained functional potential. These data show that the development of a fetal-specific adaptive cellular immune response is a normal consequence of human pregnancy. Women with recurrent miscarriage were found to have abnormal T-cell function, with increased IFN\(\gamma\) and Il-17 production. Fetal specific T-cells were also detected in this cohort and progesterone attenuated their function, which may have therapeutic implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QH301 Biology ; QH426 Genetics ; QR180 Immunology ; RB Pathology ; RG Gynecology and obstetrics