The success of the fetus as a transplant has been attributed to an immune depression in the mother. It has not been shown whether this purported depression was due to fewer T-lymphocytes or a dysfunction of these cells. T cells were measured by the rosette technique using neuraminidase treated sheep red blood cells (SRBC). B cells were measured using a SRBC-hemolysin-guinea pig complement indicator system. The total leucocyte count in the pregnant group was significantly higher than the control group but this was not reflected in the absolute number of lymphocytes. Compared to non-pregnant women, the pregnant group did not show any significant decrease in the absolute number of T lymphocytes until the 36-38th week of pregnancy. The absolute number of B lymphocytes declined with the stage of pregnancy and was on the verge of becoming significantly decreased by the 36-38th week of pregnancy. The 1-2 day postpartum group showed a significant increase in the absolute number of B and T lymphocytes which may reflect the trauma of parturition. After 6 weeks postpartum, the absolute number of B and T lymphocytes had returned to normal. The functional capacity of maternal lymphocytes was determined by the ability of these cells to undergo blast transformation when exposed to the following mitogens: phytohemagglutinin (PHA), pokeweed mitogen (PWM) and concanavalin A (Con-A). Blast transformation was measured by increased incorporation of 3H-thymidine, Maternal lymphocytes showed a peak reactivity when exposed to PHA and PWM but not with Con-A during the 36-38th week of gestation. This increased reactivity began declining with labor and reached normal levels 6 weeks postpartum. The levels of reactivity during the first and second trimesters were similar to that found in the 6 weeks postpartum and control groups. These findings suggest that the maternal immune response is intact as determined by both quantitative and qualitative assays. The increased reactivity of maternal lymphocytes during the 36-38th week of gestation may contribute to the termination of pregnancy. In conjunction with this increased reactivity, peripheral T lymphocytes may be migrating away from the peripheral circulation.
Benjamin H. S. Lau
Charles E. Winter
William M. Hooker
Paul Y. Yahiku
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Pregnancy; B-Lymphocytes; T-Lymphocytes; Immunity, Cellular
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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Fong, Ted, "B and T Lymphocytes in Human Pregnancy" (1975). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1380.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives