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Innate immune responses to acute viral infection during pregnancy

Cornish, E; Filipovic, I; Åsenius, F; Williams, D; McDonnell, T; (2020) Innate immune responses to acute viral infection during pregnancy. Frontiers in Immunology 10.3389/fimmu.2020.572567. Green open access

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Abstract

Immunological adaptations in pregnancy allow maternal tolerance of the semi-allogeneic fetus but also increase maternal susceptibility to infection. At implantation, the endometrial stroma, glands, arteries and immune cells undergo anatomical and functional transformation to create the decidua, the specialised secretory endometrium of pregnancy. The maternal decidua and the invading fetal trophoblast constitute a dynamic junction that facilitates a complex immunological dialogue between the two. The decidual and peripheral immune systems together assume a pivotal role in regulating the critical balance between tolerance and defence against infection. Throughout pregnancy, this equilibrium is repeatedly subjected to microbial challenge. Acute viral infection in pregnancy is associated with a wide spectrum of adverse consequences for both mother and fetus. Vertical transmission from mother to fetus can cause developmental anomalies, growth restriction, preterm birth and stillbirth, while the mother is predisposed to heightened morbidity and maternal death. A rapid, effective response to invasive pathogens is therefore essential in order to avoid overwhelming maternal infection and consequent fetal compromise. This sentinel response is mediated by the innate immune system: a heritable, highly evolutionarily conserved system comprising physical barriers, antimicrobial peptides and a variety of immune cells – principally neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells and natural killer cells – which express pattern-receptors that detect invariant molecular signatures unique to pathogenic micro-organisms. Recognition of these signatures during acute infection triggers signalling cascades that enhance antimicrobial properties such as phagocytosis, secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and activation of the complement system. As well as coordinating the initial immune response, macrophages and dendritic cells present microbial antigens to lymphocytes, initiating and influencing the development of specific, long-lasting adaptive immunity. Despite extensive progress in unravelling the immunological adaptations of pregnancy, pregnant women remain particularly susceptible to certain acute viral infections and continue to experience mortality rates equivalent to those observed in pandemics several decades ago. Here, we focus specifically on the pregnancy-induced vulnerabilities in innate immunity that contribute to the disproportionately high maternal mortality observed in the following acute viral infections: Lassa fever, Ebola virus disease, dengue fever, hepatitis E, influenza, and novel coronavirus infections.

Type: Article
Title: Innate immune responses to acute viral infection during pregnancy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.572567
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.572567
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 Cornish, Filipovic, Åsenius, Williams and McDonnell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Pregnancy, innate antiviral immunity, Lassa virus, Ebola virus, Dengue Virus, Hepatitis E, Influena virus, Emerging coronavirus
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Maternal and Fetal Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Biochemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108992
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