• Major histocompatibility;
  • complex;
  • peptides;
  • natural killer;
  • abortion;
  • prevention

METHOD: It is possible to induce increased fetal resorption in a number of inbred murine matings by injecting Poly (I) Poly (C12U) 3.5 days postconception, a maneuver associated with natural killer-mediated damage to the feto placental unit such as occurs in spontaneous fetal resorptions.

RESULTS: We show here that alloimmunization can block this effect. In addition, maternal immune responses induced by alloimmunization against isolated mutant class I or class II, as well as by immunization with class I MHC alloantigens (Kd) transfected L cells are sufficient to restore normal fetal viability. It is not necessary that the maternal immune response be specifically directed against paternal alloantigens fr the fetal protecton to ensue, since the effect occurs in inbred matings when the mother is immunized against unrelated class I or class II alloantigens. As in previous studies conducted in the murine species, not all MHC alloimmunizations are protective. In addition, as control, immunization with a monomorphic class I MHC molecular (37), transfected L cells, sheep red blood cells or hen egg lysozyme is without effect.

CONCLUSION: These results indicate that defined MHC antigens can mediate fetal protection from induced fetal resorption, and suggest that one driving force in promoting MHC antigen polymorphism in mammals is their capacity to confer protection from NK mediated fetal demise.