In this review, we focus on the phenomenon of chimerism and especially microchimerism as one of the currently underexplored explanations for differences in health and behavior. Chimerism is an amalgamation of cells from two or more unique zygotes within a single organism, with microchimerism defined by a minor cell population of <1%. This article first presents an overview of the primary techniques employed to detect and quantify the presence of microchimerism and then reviews empirical studies of chimerism in mammals including primates and humans. In women, male microchimerism, a condition suggested to be the result of fetomaternal exchange in utero, is relatively easily detected by polymerase chain reaction molecular techniques targeting Y-chromosomal markers. Consequently, studies of chimerism in human diseases have largely focused on diseases with a predilection for females including autoimmune diseases, and female cancers. We detail studies of chimerism in human diseases and also discuss some potential implications in behavior. Understanding the prevalence of chimerism and the associated health outcomes will provide invaluable knowledge of human biology and guide novel approaches for treating diseases.
A syndrome resembling progressive systemic sclerosis after bone marrow transplantation. A model for scleroderma?
Cutting edge: persistent fetal microchimerism in T lymphocytes is associated with HLA-DQA1*0501: implications in autoimmunity
The use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on paraffin-embedded tissue sections for the study of microchimerism
Lack of evidence for an increased microchimerism in the circulation of patients with Sjögren's syndrome
From the simple detection of microchimerism in patients with autoimmune diseases to its implication in pathogenesis
Persistent maternally derived peripheral microchimerism is associated with the juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies
Male microchimerism in healthy women and women with scleroderma: cells or circulating DNA? A quantitative answer.
Lack of evidence for involvement of fetal microchimerism in pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis
Detection of maternal-fetal microchimerism in the inflammatory lesions of patients with Sjögren's syndrome
Cellular microchimerism as a lifelong physiologic status in parous women: an immunologic basis for its amplification in patients with systemic sclerosis
Correlations of Y chromosome microchimerism with disease activity in patients with SLE: analysis of preliminary data
Identification of fetal mesenchymal stem cells in maternal blood: implications for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis
HLA-DQA1 is not an apparent risk factor for microchimerism in patients with various autoimmune diseases and in healthy individuals
Quantification of maternal microchimerism by HLA-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction: studies of healthy women and women with scleroderma
Quantification of fetal microchimeric cells in clinically affected and unaffected skin of patients with systemic sclerosis
Thyroid fetal male microchimerisms in mothers with thyroid disorders: presence of Y-chromosomal immunofluorescence in thyroid-infiltrating lymphocytes is more prevalent in Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease than in follicular adenomas
Male microchimerism in women with systemic sclerosis and healthy women who have never given birth to a son
Fetal CD34+ cells in the maternal circulation and long-term microchimerism in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)
Prenatal diagnosis, sonographic findings and molecular genetic analysis of a 46,XX/46,XY true hermaphrodite chimera
Male microchimerism in women without sons: quantitative assessment and correlation with pregnancy history
Fetal microchimerism in the maternal mouse brain: a novel population of fetal progenitor or stem cells able to cross the blood-brain barrier?
Autoimmune diseases occur as a result of an attack by the immune system on the body’s own tissues resulting in damage and dysfunction. There are different types of autoimmune diseases, in which there is a complex and unknown interaction between genetics and the environment. Discover the latest research on autoimmune diseases here.