REVIEW ARTICLE: B7 Family Molecules as Regulators of the Maternal Immune System in Pregnancy


Margaret G. Petroff, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology University of Kansas Medical Center, M/S 3050, 3063 Kansas Life Sciences Innovation Center 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


Citation Petroff MG, Perchellet A. B7 family molecules as regulators of the maternal immune system in pregnancy. Am J Reprod Immunol 2010

Placental and fetal growth and development are associated with chronic exposure of the maternal immune system to fetally derived, paternally inherited antigens. Because maternal lymphocytes are aware of fetal antigens, active tolerance mechanisms are required to ensure unperturbed progression of pregnancy and delivery of a healthy newborn. These mechanisms of tolerance may include deletion, receptor downregulation, and anergy of fetal antigen-specific cells in lymphoid tissues, as well as regulation at the maternal–fetal interface by a variety of locally expressed immunoregulatory molecules. The B7 family of costimulatory molecules comprises one group of immunoregulatory molecules present in the decidua and placenta. B7 family members mediate both inhibitory and stimulatory effects on T-cell activation and effector functions and may play a critical role in maintaining tolerance to the fetus. Here, we review the known functions of the B7 family proteins in pregnancy.