Foetal immunity ‘develops in second trimester’

Scientists in Singapore have discovered that a foetus' immune system is established as early as the second trimester of pregnancy, and may be able to initiate immune responses independently of the mother's immune system.

The researchers are from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) and KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH).

According to the scientists, their findings debunk commonly held assumptions about fetal immunity, including the idea that the foetus' immune system develops much later in the pregnancy cycle. It also challenges the idea that the foetus is unable to mount an independent immune response, being dependent on the mother's immune system to defend itself against external pathogens.

The scientists also found that an unborn baby's immune system contains a unique mechanism to prevent rejection of the mother's cells, even as it develops independently. They said their discovery will provide insights into the immune mechanisms involved in some pregnancy-related illnesses and developmental diseases.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801836966-ADNFCR