This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
Paternal priming of maternal tissues to optimize pregnancy success
The question of “how does the allogeneic foetus survive gestation in the face of the maternal immune system?” has yet to be definitively answered. A number of acceptable mechanisms exist to facilitate survival of the semi-allogeneic foetus in various species, paramount is the immunological separation of maternal and foetal tissues during gestation. However, keen observation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy has noted maternal immune tolerance to paternal specific antigens. A mechanism by which the maternal immune system tolerates specific paternal antigens expressed on the foetus would be far more beneficial than the previously proposed immune indolence that would leave the mother susceptible to infection. In species like human or rodent, implantation occurs days after fertilisation and as such the mechanisms to establish antigen specific tolerance must be initiated very early during pregnancy. We and others propose that these mechanisms are initiated at the time of insemination when paternal antigens are first introduced to the maternal immune system. Indeed, a new paradigm demonstrating the importance of paternal-maternal communication at the time of insemination is becoming evident as it relates to maternal tolerance to foetal antigen and ultimately pregnancy success.
RD17345 Accepted 31 August 2017
© CSIRO 2017