Citation Kraus TA, Sperling RS, Engel SM, Lo Y, Kellerman L, Singh T, Loubeau M, Ge Y, Garrido JL, Rodríguez-García M, Moran TM. Peripheral blood cytokine profiling during pregnancy and post-partum periods. Am J Reprod Immunol 2010; 64: 411–426
Problem Pregnancy requires that the maternal immune system adapt to prevent rejection of the fetal semi-allograft. This immunologic adaptation may contribute to pregnancy-related alterations in disease susceptibility and severity of infections from viral pathogens such as influenza virus.
Method of Study As part of a larger study investigating the maternal systemic immune response during pregnancy, peripheral blood was collected three times during pregnancy and twice post-partum to measure serum levels of 23 cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors. This longitudinal study design allowed each woman’s post-partum blood draw to serve as her own comparison, thus controlling for interpersonal variability in expression levels.
Results When compared to the post-partum samples, significant pregnancy-related changes in IFNγ, TNFα, VEGF, GCSF, Eotaxin, and MCP-1 expression were observed. These changes have significant immunologic effects in vivo and in culture.
Conclusion Pregnancy-associated changes to steady state serum cytokines may have important immunologic consequence.