Study Suggests Vaccines Might Prevent Complications of Pregnancy


A study has been published in the journal Nature hinting that there might be a way to create vaccines that would prevent premature birth and other complications of pregnancy.

These vaccines would qualify as the first vaccines that aim to stimulate the subset of regulatory CD4 T-cells that act to suppress the immune response-- as opposed to the way vaccines currently work, which is to stimulate T-cells and activate an immune response.

The work, carried out by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, demonstrates a pregnant woman's immune system stimulates cells that selectively prevent attack and rejection of fetal tissues seen as being foreign. Such pregnancy-induced immune suppressive regulatory T-cells remain with the woman after pregnancy, meaning that they remember their previous role, even as they go on to other protective roles in the body.

According to senior author Sing Sing Way, MD PhD, a physician researcher in Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the study shows that "immune suppressive regulatory CD4 cells can form immunological memory. These memory features shown in pregnancy illustrate why complications become reduced in subsequent compared with primary pregnancy, but can also be broadly applied to new ways to better control the stringent balance between immune stimulation and suppression for preventing autoimmune diseases."

With this knowledge, they may be able to design vaccines that are specific in targeting immune suppressive T-cells. "A vaccine that targets the expansion and retention of immune suppressive cells would allow selective silencing of undesired responses and prevent them from attacking the body," he added.

Thus, vaccines to prevent the development of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes and juvenile idiopathic arthritis could be closer than we think.

Source: Medical News Today


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