While my recent post about a placental estrogen receptor pointed to the mechanisms by which mom’s systems can protect a developing fetus from inflammation, immune changes during pregnancy can also benefit mom. Medical scientists have long recognized that mothers tend to have milder autoimmune disease during pregnancy. Researchers from Linkoping University believe the immune organ called the thymus plays a role in that effect. In their study, pregnant women appeared to produce more regulatory T cells than non-pregnant women. These cells calm the immune system and may contribute to the calming of autoimmune disease. They look to continue research in this area.
Sandra Hellberg, Ratnesh B. Mehta, Anna Forsberg, Göran Berg, Jan Brynhildsen, Ola Winqvist, Maria C. Jenmalm, Jan Ernerudh. Maintained thymic output of conventional and regulatory T cells during human pregnancy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.09.023
Thanks to Science Daily:
Linköping University. “A major role for a small organ in the immune response during pregnancy.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108110037.htm>.