T Cell Awareness of Paternal Alloantigens During Pregnancy

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Science  27 Oct 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5236, pp. 630-633
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5236.630


During pregnancy a semiallogeneic fetus survives despite the presence of maternal T cells specific for paternally inherited histocompatibility antigens. A mouse transgenic for a T cell receptor recognizing the major histocompatibility (MHC) antigen H-2Kb was used to follow the fate of T cells reactive to paternal alloantigens. In contrast to syngeneic and third-party allogeneic pregnancies, mice bearing a Kb-positive conceptus had reduced numbers of Kb-reactive T cells and accepted Kb-positive tumor grafts. T cell phenotype and responsiveness were restored after delivery. Thus, during pregnancy maternal T cells acquire a transient state of tolerance specific for paternal alloantigens.