During pregnancy, a successful coexistence between the mother and the semi-allogenic fetus occurs which requires a dynamic immune system to guarantee an efficient immune protection against possible infections and tolerance toward fetal antigens. The mechanism of fetal-maternal tolerance is still an open question. There is growing in vitro and in vivo evidence that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) which are present in perinatal tissues have a prominent role in generating a functional microenvironment critical to a successful pregnancy. This review highlights the immunomodulatory properties of perinatal MSC and their impact on the major immune cell subsets present in the uterus during pregnancy, such as natural killer cells, antigen-presenting cells (macrophages and dendritic cells), and T cells. Here, we discuss the current understanding and the possible contribution of perinatal MSC in the establishment of fetal-maternal tolerance, providing a new perspective on the physiology of gestation.
- fetal-maternal tolerance
- mesenchymal stromal cells