CD8+ Effector T Cells at the Fetal–Maternal Interface, Balancing Fetal Tolerance and Antiviral Immunity
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Special Issue: Adaptive Immune Responses During Pregnancy
Volume 69, Issue 4, pages 395–407, April 2013
How to Cite
CD8+ effector T cells at the fetal–maternal interface – balancing fetal tolerance and antiviral immunity. Am J Reprod Immunol 2013; 69: 395–407, .
- Issue published online: 11 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 21 NOV 2012
- CD8+ T cells;
- effector memory;
- fetal–maternal tolerance;
During pregnancy CD8+ effector T cells need optimal immune regulation to prevent a detrimental response to allogeneic fetal cells while providing immune protection to infections. A significant proportion of (prospective) mothers carry naïve or memory CD8+ T cells with a TCR that can directly bind to paternal MHC molecules. In addition, a high percentage of pregnant women develop specific T cell responses to fetal minor histocompatibility antigens (mHags). Under normal conditions, fetal–maternal MHC and mHag mismatches lead to elevated lymphocyte activation but do not induce pregnancy failure. Furthermore, viral infections alter the maternal CD8+ T cell response by changing the CD8+ T cell repertoire and increasing the influx of CD8+ T cells to decidual tissue. The normally high T cell activation threshold at the fetal–maternal interface may prevent efficient clearance of viral infections. Conversely, the increased inflammatory response due to viral infections may break fetal–maternal tolerance and lead to pregnancy complications. The aim of this review is to discuss the recent studies of CD8+ T cells in pregnancy, identify potential mechanisms for antigen-specific immune recognition of fetal extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells by CD8+ T cells, and discuss the impact of viral infections and virus-specific CD8+ T cells during pregnancy.