Maternal-foetal immunity. New data
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During pregnancy, the mother’s immune system must tolerate, nurture and protect an individual in her womb (in its phases of zygote, embryo and foetus), whose genetic makeup is foreign to that of the pregnant mother, since 50% comes from the paternal genetic endowment. The genetically programmed immunological reaction in the mother should trigger a process of rejection towards the “unrecognised” biological material harboured within her body, by activating cells called “natural killers” (T lymphocytes), and B lymphocytes, responsible for synthesising specific antibodies directed at neutralising that which would be “invasive” for the individual herself. This would inevitably cause its destruction and expulsion (miscarriage). However, the mother activates a mechanism to prevent this. From the fertilisation of the egg by the sperm in the Fallopian tubes, mother and child establish a “molecular dialogue”, which enables them to mutually identify, know and protect each other.