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Authors Dutta P, Dart ML, Schumacher SM, Burlingham WJ
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Journal Chimerism Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Pages: 51-5
Publish Date 2010 Oct
PubMed ID 21327047
PMC ID 3023623

We previously showed that fetal and maternal exposure to non-inherited maternal antigens (NIMA) during gestation and nursing resulted in lifelong tolerance to NIMA in some offspring. This NIMA-specific tolerance was mediated by regulatory T cells (Tregs) and was correlated with the level of multi-lineage maternal microchimerism (Mc) indicating a causative link between Mc and Treg development. To determine if transfer of fetal cells into mothers resulted in a similar tolerance to fetal cells, we used qPCR to detect rare fetal derived cells and a delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) assay to detect fetal alloantigen-specific effector and regulatory T cells in mothers. We found that 5/8 B6 mothers of H2 offspring were sensitized to the alloantigens H2 and HY, indicating a dominance of alloantigen-specific effector T cells. Though these sensitized mothers did not have detectable fetal Mc (FMc) in any of the organs tested, they had very high levels of fetus-derived c-kit() stem cells in their bone marrow. The remaining 3/8 B6 mothers that were not sensitized to the fetal antigens had detectable FMc found mostly in heart, lungs and liver, and in 2/3, we could detect alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells. This data indicates that, as in NIMA-specific tolerance, tolerance in multiparous females to inherited paternal antigens (IPA) expressed by the fetus is associated with the presence of fetal Mc in differentiated cell subsets. Surprisingly, robust lin(-)c-kit() bone marrow cell fetal Mc can occur in sensitized mothers. This suggests a continuous source of allospecific priming, coupled with active elimination of mature IPA-expressing lin(+) cells by effector T cells of the maternal host.

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