Fetal and/or perinatal exposure to noninherited maternal antigens (NIMA) has been reported to induce NIMA-specific tolerance. This tolerant state is highly beneficial in transplantation settings; enhanced graft acceptance has been observed when transplanted tissues express NIMA. Reduction in severe graft-vs-host disease has also been noted when bone marrow grafts originate from donors exposed to NIMA in early life. However, there is emerging evidence that exposure to NIMA can alternatively lead to specific priming. The processes regulating tolerance versus priming to NI MA are poorly understood and probably multifactorial. Based on studies in both humans and mice, we propose that both the quality and the quantity of NIMA exposure will be found to be key determinants of these opposing outcomes.
- Breast milk
- In utero
- Noninherited maternal antigens
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Biology