PROBLEM: To determine if immunotherapy can prevent abortion triggered by mechanisms that in humans may be treatable by psychotherapy.
METHOD: The effects of alloimmunization against paternal strain antigens were tested in pregnant mice subjected to stress.
RESULTS: Restraint stress boosted the resorption rate assessed on day 13.5 of pregnancy in DBA/2‐mated C3H/HeJ mice with an optimal effect on day 4.5 of pregnancy, and premating alloimmunization greatly reduced the effect. By contrast, CBA/J and A/J mice proved resistant to abortion boosting by restraint stress. A/J mice mated to DBA/2 or C3H/HeJ males showed reduced fertility, perhaps due to failure of pregnancy immediately after the stress, but this was not corrected by alloimmunization with either DBA/2 [class I + class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) immunogen] or C3H/HeJ (class I MHC immunogen) splenocytes. There was a reduction in the endogenous resorption rate, however, and implantation number was slightly increased by preimmunization using DBA/2 cells. The abortion rate could be boosted, however, by ultrasonic noise stress of high abortion rate CBA/J, and preimmunization using BALB/c (H‐2d) splenocytes protected. A similar boosting of loss in low abortion rate BALB/k mice was ameliorated (albeit not completely) by preimmunization with allogeneic paternal but not syngeneic splenocytes.
CONCLUSIONS: Immunotherapy may protect against a variety of potential triggers of spontaneous abortion, including those that may be amenable to psychological remedies, and possible mechanisms are discussed.