Mouse is the new woman? Translational research in reproductive immunology
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In an outbred mating typical of human reproduction, the embryo and feto-placental unit express paternal antigens to which the mother's immune system can react. However, the embryo and feto-placental unit can engineer the maternal immune defense system towards helpful rather than harmful reactions. Indeed, this begins with the prospective mother's exposure to paternal seminal plasma. In this review, the pregnancy complications of implantation failure (infertility), recurrent spontaneous abortion, pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, and premature labor are examined to determine the degree of similarity between events in women and events in lab mouse models. The artificially induced model of endometriosis (which contributes to infertility) is also compared to what occurs in women. One may conclude that the female mouse provides a good analog of the human female. Nevertheless, it is always important to validate mouse data with human studies. The discussion focuses on the intrauterine interface between embryonic and placental tissues and maternal uterine tissues and the dialogue that is referred to as cross-talk. Issues relating to bidirectional transplacental traffic of immune system cells are not discussed as there is very little relevant data.
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