Maternal Immune System

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  1. Placenta
    • - Functions as an immunological barrier between the mother and the fetus
    • -Trophoblast cells provide nutrients  to the embryo , develop into a large part of the placenta.Form tissues of the chorion
  2. Tolerance of the Fetus
    • -The fetus represents a foreign entity to the maternal immune system, because its semiallogeneic.
    • -The immune system is altered to “tolerate” the fetus.
  3. Maternal Immune Cells
    Include:Macrophages, uNK cells(uterine natural killer cells), Helper T cells, Cytotoxic T, lymphocytes- prevent virus multiplication

    -uNK cells &macrophages regulate &balance trophoblast.

    -A shallow amount of trophoblast or an over invasion of trophoblast is problematic to the mother- may cause preeclampsia

    -The number of immune cells changes through out pregnancy.

    -First trimester= abundance of uNK cells& macrophages

    -Second trimester = Decrease in Cytotoxic T lymphocytes, regulatory cells and uNK cells and The decrease in these immune cells play a role in the acceptance of the fetus and the placenta.
  4. KIR2DL4
    •Killer cell immunoglobulin receptors are transmembrane glycoproteins expressed by all NK cells and T cells.

    •The KIR2DL4 receptor activates NK cells.

    •HLA-G accumulates in the KIR2DL4 endosome.

    •HLA-G  molecule inhibits immune response by blocking the receptor
  5. The HLA-Gmolecule(human-leukocyte antigen)
    • -Is a protein in humans that is encoded by the HLA-gene
    • -Plays a role in immune tolerance in pregnancy
    • -HLA-G is expressed by the trophoblast & it  protects the fetus from decidual NK cell attack
    • -Isoforms of HLA-G saturate the maternal-fetal interface & circulate in mothers throughout pregnancy
    • -HLA-G proteins facilitate semiallogeneic pregnancy  by inhibiting maternal immune response to foreign (paternal) antigens
    • -HLA-G expression is restricted to the fetal trophoblast cells that invade the maternal decidua during early pregnancy.
  6. Prone to Infection
    -During pregnancy women are more prone to infection,  because different immune cells are suppressed and others are enhanced in order to allow the developing fetus to live.

    -The absence of T Cells  puts women at a higher risk of viral infection, viral illness, as well as opportunistic infections
  7. Maternal-Fetal Infections
    • Congenital Infections
    • -infections that occur  in the womb 
    • -infection can occur before the infant is born or during the birth process 
    • -affects babies as the result of infection of the mother during pregnancy

    • -Toxoplasmosis-  infection caused by a parasite, common host is the cat
    • -Other infections-syphilis, varicella- zoster
    • -Rubella- (German Measles)
    • -Cytomegalovirus- CMV, herpesvirus family, can cause blurred vision& diarrhia.
    • -Herpes simplex virus2- genital herpes
  8. Maternal-Fetal Infections
    • Perinatal Infections
    • -Acquired during labor
    • -By exposure to anogenital secretions, and blood

    ex: Herpes Zoster Virus(shingles), HIV, Hepatitis B Virus(HBV), Chlamydia

    • Postnatal Infections
    • -Acquired after birth
    • -By direct contact  or breastfeeding

    ex: Meningitis, Pneumonia, UTI, Oral Thrush- yeast of the mouth,Conjunctivitis
  9. Maternal-Fetal Infections
    §Maternal Infections spread to the embryo& fetus by ascending infection from the upper vagina via the uterine cervix to amniotic fluid or …….

    Maternal infections can spread in a  hematogenous matter as a result of maternal viremia, bacteremia, or parasitemia

    If infection reaches the womb it can cause the chorion to become inflamed and infected, causing preterm labor.
  10. Vaccination

    Expecting mothers should consider being vaccinated prior to conception or postpartum

    Vaccines prior to pregnancy- measles, mumps, rubella(German measles) vaccines

    Vaccines during pregnancy(only if at high risk) -Tdap (prevents against whooping cough)

    Inactive vaccine preferably 
Card Set
Maternal Immune System
Human Developmental
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