PROBLEM: The fetal immune response against the mother and the father is specifically altered. Up to now it is unclear whether the immune response between adult children and their parents is also specifically altered.
METHODS: Seven female and seven male adults and five male and five female newborns and all their parents were enrolled in the study. Cyotoxicity, apoptosis and proliferation properties of the parents' lymphocytes were measured against those of their children and vice versa using two-way mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLCs).
RESULTS: The immune response of adult children against both their parents is reproducibly decreased compared with that of both parents against their children in cytotoxicity, apoptosis and proliferation, independent of sex or age.
CONCLUSION: The cellular immune response of children is decreased against both their parents but not vice versa independent of pregnancy, age, or HLA or HY antigens. This might be acquired during pregnancy or genetically determined.