Compulsory exposure to genetically foreign maternal tissue imprints in offspring sustained tolerance to noninherited maternal antigens (NIMA). Immunological tolerance to NIMA was first described by Dr. Ray D. Owen for women genetically negative for erythrocyte rhesus (Rh) antigen with reduced sensitization from developmental Rh exposure by their mothers. Extending this analysis to HLA haplotypes has uncovered the exciting potential for therapeutically exploiting NIMA-specific tolerance naturally engrained in mammalian reproduction for improved clinical outcomes after allogeneic transplantation. Herein, we summarize emerging scientific concepts stemming from tolerance to NIMA that includes postnatal maintenance of microchimeric maternal origin cells in offspring, expanded accumulation of immune suppressive regulatory T cells with NIMA-specificity, along with teleological benefits and immunological consequences of NIMA-specific tolerance conserved across mammalian species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Biology