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A Variety of Opportunities for Immune Interactions During Trophoblast Development and Invasion



Berthold Huppertz, Institute of Cell Biology, Histology and Embryology, Medical University of Graz, Harrachgasse 21/7, 8010 Graz, Austria.



During human implantation and placentation, the direct cell to cell contact of fetal and maternal tissues gives room for a variety of immune interactions. Especially, the invasion of a subset of fetal trophoblast cells, called extravillous trophoblast, generate a very close interplay between the two individuals, enabling the attachment of the placenta to the uterine wall and the transformation of maternal spiral arteries to facilitate adequate nutrition of the fetus. During pregnancy, maternal and fetal factors closely interact to maintain pregnancy and smooth the process of delivery. At each and every stage and site, immunological interactions take place, including attachment of the blastocyst, development and invasion of trophoblast, and flow of maternal plasma and blood through the intervillous space of the placenta. Control mechanisms tightly regulate these interactions helping to evade fetal rejection by the mother. In this review, we highlight the morphological sites of development and feto-maternal interaction to help immunological interested scientists and clinicians to develop hypotheses on the feto-maternal immunological network during pregnancy.