International Journal of Morphology
versão On-line ISSN 0717-9502
The initiation and establishment of pregnancy in mammals depends on the adaptation from maternal immune system to tolerate a semi-allogeneic fetus. Pregnancy itself constitutes an event of immune balance because, while the immune system maintains the capacity for defense against foreign antigens, mechanisms of local and peripheral tolerance may prevent an inappropriate response against fetal alloantigens of paternal origin which could lead to rejection of the fetus. The maternal-fetal immune interaction is extremely complex and it has therefore been difficult to identify all the immune components involved. So far, it is known that the active participation of T cells and their products, cytokines, and has also involved molecules from the major histocompatibility complex, other paternal antigens and some immunomodulators molecules such as progesterone, glycodelin and indoleamine 2,3-dioxigenase among others. All these elements seem to converge to produce a major systemic change in the maternal immune system, promoting on one hand the maternal-fetal tolerance, crucial to allow a successful pregnancy and on the other hand, maintaining an active immune surveillance against infections that might endanger pregnancy and survival of diverses species. A review of recent literature about the different components of the immune system that have proven key in the beginning and maintenance of pregnancy in mammals.
Palavras-chave : Pregnancy; Immune tolerance; Reproductive immunology.