Adaptive Immune Responses During Pregnancy

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It has long been believed that there is no immune interaction between mother and conceptus during pregnancy. This concept changed after evidence was provided that the maternal immune system is aware of the semiallogeneic conceptus and develops strategies to tolerate it. Since then, finely regulated mechanisms of active tolerance toward the fetus have been described. This Special Issue of the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology deals with these mechanisms. It begins with the description of minor histocompatibility antigens in the placenta; it further goes through adaptive immune responses toward paternal fetal antigens, mostly concentrating on regulatory T cells and molecules modulating the Th1/Th2 balance. The participation of antibody-producing B cells in normal and pathological pregnancies is also discussed. This introductory chapter resumes the concepts presented throughout the Issue and discusses the clinical applications raised from these concepts.

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