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      Pregnancy and Infection

      , ,

      New England Journal of Medicine

      Massachusetts Medical Society

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          The complex role of estrogens in inflammation.

          There is still an unresolved paradox with respect to the immunomodulating role of estrogens. On one side, we recognize inhibition of bone resorption and suppression of inflammation in several animal models of chronic inflammatory diseases. On the other hand, we realize the immunosupportive role of estrogens in trauma/sepsis and the proinflammatory effects in some chronic autoimmune diseases in humans. This review examines possible causes for this paradox. This review delineates how the effects of estrogens are dependent on criteria such as: 1) the immune stimulus (foreign antigens or autoantigens) and subsequent antigen-specific immune responses (e.g., T cell inhibited by estrogens vs. activation of B cell); 2) the cell types involved during different phases of the disease; 3) the target organ with its specific microenvironment; 4) timing of 17beta-estradiol administration in relation to the disease course (and the reproductive status of a woman); 5) the concentration of estrogens; 6) the variability in expression of estrogen receptor alpha and beta depending on the microenvironment and the cell type; and 7) intracellular metabolism of estrogens leading to important biologically active metabolites with quite different anti- and proinflammatory function. Also mentioned are systemic supersystems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the sensory nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system and how they are influenced by estrogens. This review reinforces the concept that estrogens have antiinflammatory but also proinflammatory roles depending on above-mentioned criteria. It also explains that a uniform concept as to the action of estrogens cannot be found for all inflammatory diseases due to the enormous variable responses of immune and repair systems.
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            Bidirectional cytokine interactions in the maternal-fetal relationship: is successful pregnancy a TH2 phenomenon?

            Pregnant females are susceptible to intracellular pathogens and are biased towards humoral rather than cell-mediated immunity. Since TH1 cytokines compromise pregnancy and TH2 cytokines are produced at the maternal-fetal interface, we hypothesize that these TH2 cytokines inhibit TH1 responses, improving fetal survival but impairing responses against some pathogens.
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              Adherence of Plasmodium falciparum to chondroitin sulfate A in the human placenta.

              Women are particularly susceptible to malaria during first and second pregnancies, even though they may have developed immunity over years of residence in endemic areas. Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (IRBCs) were obtained from human placentas. These IRBCs bound to purified chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) but not to other extracellular matrix proteins or to other known IRBC receptors. IRBCs from nonpregnant donors did not bind to CSA. Placental IRBCs adhered to sections of fresh-frozen human placenta with an anatomic distribution similar to that of naturally infected placentas, and this adhesion was competitively inhibited by purified CSA. Thus, adhesion to CSA appears to select for a subpopulation of parasites that causes maternal malaria.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                June 05 2014
                June 05 2014
                : 370
                : 23
                : 2211-2218
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMra1213566
                24897084
                8868f145-f31c-4105-8d10-f1460d943cf9
                © 2014
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