Immunological tolerance, pregnancy and pre-eclampsia: the roles of semen microbes and the father

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Louise C Kenny, Douglas B Kell


Although it is widely recognised as involving two stages (poor placentation followed by oxidative stress/inflammation), the precise originating causes of pre-eclampsia (PE) remain elusive. We have previously brought together some of the considerable evidence that a (dormant) microbial component is commonly a significant part of its aetiology. However, apart from recognising, consistent with this view, that the many inflammatory markers of PE are also increased in infection, we had little to say about immunity, whether innate or adaptive. In addition, we focussed on the gut, oral and female urinary tract microbiomes as the main sources of the infection. We here marshall further evidence for an infectious component in PE, focussing on the immunological tolerance characteristic of pregnancy, and the well-established fact that increased exposure to the father's semen assists this immunological tolerance. As well as these benefits, however, semen is not sterile, microbial tolerance mechanisms may exist, and we also review the evidence that semen may be responsible for inoculating the developing conceptus with microbes, not all of which are benign. It is suggested that when they are not, this may be a significant cause of pre-eclamps...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Biological Markers
Immune Tolerance
Oral Cavity
Oxidative Stress

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