Major Histocompatibility Antigens on Trophoblast and Their Regulation: Implications in the Maternal‐Fetal Relationship

J. R. Head, B. L. Drake, F. A. Zuckermann

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39 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Recent technological advances have provided methods of detecting antigens encoded by the major histocompatibility complex with greater precision, allowing the expression of such antigens on the components of the placenta to be clarified. Of specific interest is the expression of these antigens on trophoblast cells, the fetal‐derived epithelial cells that confront maternal blood and tissues at the maternal‐fetal interface. It is now clear that the different trophoblast subpopulations differentially express class I antigens, although none appear to express class II antigens. Class I antigens can be induced by exposure to interferons on some populations but apparently not others, suggesting that the regulation of their expression differs for sub‐populations of trophoblast cells, depending on gestational stage and location. This restricted expression has important implications for maternal‐fetal immune interactions during the different phases of pregnancy and perhaps also bears on physiological functions of the feto‐placental unit, such as growth and differentiation. 1987 Munksgaard

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology and Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1987



  • Placenta
  • interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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