The Placental Immune Milieu is Characterized by a Th2- and Anti-Inflammatory Transcription Profile, Regardless of Maternal Allergy, and Associates with Neonatal Immunity

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Abstract

Problem

How maternal allergy affects the systemic and local immunological environment during pregnancy and the immune development of the offspring is unclear.

Method of study

Expression of 40 genes was quantified by PCR arrays in placenta, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMC) from 7 allergic and 12 non-allergic women and their offspring.

Results

Placental gene expression was dominated by a Th2-/anti-inflammatory profile, irrespectively of maternal allergy, as compared to gene expression in PBMC. p35 expression in placenta correlated with fetal Tbx21 (ρ = −0.88, P < 0.001) and IL-5 expression in PBMC with fetal galectin1 (ρ = 0.91, P < 0.001). Increased expression of Th2-associated CCL22 in CBMC preceded allergy development.

Conclusions

Gene expression locally and systemically during pregnancy was partly associated with the offspring's gene expression, possibly indicating that the immunological milieu is important for fetal immune development. Maternal allergy was not associated with an enhanced Th2 immunity in placenta or PBMC, while a marked prenatal Th2 skewing, shown as increased CCL22 mRNA expression, might contribute to postnatal allergy development.

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