Interaction of pregnancy and autoimmune rheumatic disease

Østensen, Monika; Villiger, Peter M; Förger, Frauke (2012). Interaction of pregnancy and autoimmune rheumatic disease. Autoimmunity reviews, 11(6-7), A437-46. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.11.013

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During pregnancy, the fetus represents a natural allograft that is not normally rejected. While the maternal immune system retains the ability to respond to foreign antigens, tolerance mechanisms are up-regulated to protect the fetus from immunologic attacks by the mother. The profound immunologic adaptations during and after pregnancy do influence maternal autoimmune rheumatic diseases in several ways. One is triggering the onset of a rheumatic disease in the post partum period, the other influencing disease activity of established rheumatic disease. The review will discuss the mechanisms of increased susceptibility of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the first year post partum with a specific emphasis on the role of fetal cells or antigens persisting in the maternal circulation (so called microchimerism). Furthermore, the different influences of pregnancy on established rheumatic diseases will be highlighted. A marked beneficial effect of pregnancy is observed on RA whereas several other rheumatic diseases as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) show either no particular effect or an aggravation of symptoms during pregnancy. Differences emerging in regard to modulation of disease symptoms during pregnancy seem related to response to hormones, the type of cytokine profile and immune response prevailing as well as further downstream interactions of molecular pathways that are important in disease pathogenesis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology and Allergology

UniBE Contributor:

Oestensen, Monika Elisabeth; Villiger, Peter and Förger, Frauke








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:23

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:28

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URI: (FactScience: 213331)

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