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Innate immune responses to toll-like receptor stimulation are altered during the course of pregnancy

Abstract : During pregnancy the maternal immune system has to develop tolerance towards the developing fetus. These changes in maternal immunity can result in increased severity of certain infections, but also in amelioration of autoimmune diseases. Pregnancy-related hormones have been suggested to play a central role in the adaptation of the maternal immune system, but their specific effects on innate immune function is not well understood. In a longitudinal study of pregnant women, we investigated innate immune cell function in response to toll-like receptors (TLR) 4 and 7 stimulation, two TLR pathways playing a critical role in early innate immune recognition of bacteria and viruses. IFNα production by TLR7-stimulated pDCs was decreased in early pregnancy, and increased towards the end of pregnancy. In contrast, pro-inflammatory TLR4-induced TNFα production by monocytes was increased during early pregnancy, but declined after the first trimester. Changes in cytokine production were associated with changes in pregnancy-related hormones and monocyte subpopulations over the course of pregnancy. These data demonstrating a significant association between pregnancy-related hormones and modulation of innate immune responses mediated by TLRs provide novel insights into the immunological adaptations occurring during pregnancy.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 5, 2018 - 2:37:29 PM
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Susanne Maria Ziegler, Cai Niklaas Feldmann, Sven Hendrik Hagen, Laura Richert, Tanja Barkhausen, et al.. Innate immune responses to toll-like receptor stimulation are altered during the course of pregnancy. Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 2018, 128, pp.30 - 37. ⟨10.1016/j.jri.2018.05.009⟩. ⟨hal-01888920⟩



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