Substance in the blood of pregnant women that has the ability to fight pathological immune reaction via its action on pro-inflammatory immune cells has been discovered as per a study at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University.
A special protein-carbohydrate molecule - trophoblastic β1-glycoprotein, that regulates the congenital and adaptive (or acquired) immunity is found in the blood of pregnant women. It is due to these cells that the woman's body does not adversely react to the fetus as a source of antigens and rather normal development is supported until its birth.
Natural Defence System
Th17 lymphocytes are a group of helper cells that are identified by the presence of the CD4 receptor and support other immune cells. Whereas, Treg lymphocytes are involved in suppressing the activity of the immune system, especially during normal course of pregnancy.
The count of Th17 increases in case of any regulation disorders/autoimmune diseases such as asthma, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease (chronic intestine inflammation), multiple sclerosis, and so on.
"An increased share of Th17 is associated with preeclampsia, a condition of pregnant women that causes high blood pressure, edema, and protein in the urine and in severe cases may lead to multi-organ failure. Also, high Th17 can be the reason for preterm delivery, miscarriage, or repeated pregnancy loss of unknown etiology. Even when the course of pregnancy is relatively normal, increased Th17 levels can interfere with the development of a baby's nervous system and lead to higher risks of neuropsychic disorders," says Larisa Litvinova, the Head of the Center for Immunology and Cellular Biotechnology, BFU.
Role of Trophoblastic β1-glycoproteins in Pregnancy
The team utilized the samples of venous blood from healthy 21-39 years old pregnant women to test the effect of trophoblastic β1-glycoprotein on CD4+ lymphocytes. The immune cells were extracted from the blood and cultivated together with trophoblastic β1-glycoproteins (patented preparation method).
It was found that trophoblastic β1-glycoproteins suppressed the division of CD4+ lymphocytes and the production of cytokines by them.
Cytokines are small peptide molecules that drive inflammation. The ability of β1-glycoproteins to fight these pro-inflammatory lymphocytes may aid in the development of medicinal drugs for pregnancy maintenance, treat its complications, and also in the treatment of various autoimmune diseases.