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Keywords:

  • CD4;
  • lymphoid tissues;
  • mouse;
  • pregnancy;
  • proliferation;
  • T cell receptor

Summary

Classic models suggest maternal tolerance is dependent on regulation of fetal antigen-specific T cell responses. We hypothesize that factors unique to a particular fetal antigen-specific T cell, rather than the state of pregnancy per se, are important determinants of T cell fate during pregnancy. To investigate the fate of fetal antigen-specific CD4 T cells in the systemic circulation, we examined spleen cells in a CD4 T cell receptor transgenic mouse specific for the male antigen H-Y. We observed a transient decrease in CD4+ Vβ6+ cell numbers and, due to transient internalization of CD4, an increase in CD4 Vβ6+ T cells. Antigen-specific in vitro responsiveness was not depressed by pregnancy. These data suggest that pregnancy supports fluidity in this particular CD4 T cell pool that may, in turn, help to meet competing requirements of maternal immune responsiveness and fetal tolerance.