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Authors Burlingham WJ
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Journal Am. J. Transplant.
Publish Date 2016 Mar 14
PubMed ID 26988284

Conventional wisdom argues against inbreeding, to maintain hybrid vigor and increase MHC diversity in response to pathogens. A recent report from the laboratory of Sing-Sing Way uses a mouse model to test a hypothesis put forward by Ray D. Owen more than 60 years ago: that a certain amount of inbreeding is a good thing. Owen proposed that antigens not inherited from the mother (noninherited maternal antigens), when replicated on the mate of the daughter, could protect the latter’s developing child from fetal wastage due to immune attack during her pregnancy. Kinder et al use elegant mouse breeding models and MHC class II peptide tetramers to show that Owen’s hypothesis, based only on humoral (anti-Rh IgG) data and a small sample size, was indeed correct. The mediators of this cross-generational protection turn out to be a special kind of Foxp3(+) T regulatory cell, the development of which requires the persistence of maternal microchimerism into adulthood. The implications of this discovery for the role of microchimerism in tolerance to transplants are discussed. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System