Vertically transferred maternal immune cells promote neonatal immunity against early life infections
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Immune cells transferred from mothers to foetuses during pregnancy help to protect newborns against infections during the first days of life.
A mouse study by researchers at the University of Hamburg found that maternal immune cells help promote the formation of blood stem cells in the foetal bone marrow. These stem cells then give rise to infection-fighting immune cells that can help babies avert the threat of pathogens before they gain their own defences through vaccination or exposure to viruses or bacteria.
The team also found that the more that foetuses acquire these cells from their mothers, the better protected they seem.
Newborn mice with greater numbers of maternally transferred immune cells were less prone to cytomegalovirus infections. And human babies born with more maternal cells in the cord blood tended to have fewer respiratory infections before their first birthdays.
- Nature Communications 12, 4706 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24719-z
|University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), UHH, Germany||1.00|