Pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis: insights into the immunology of fetal tolerance and control of autoimmunity.
It has long been recognized that symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) frequently improve spontaneously during pregnancy, only to flare postpartum. Although the mechanisms behind this phenomenon remain poorly understood, there is growing interest in the immunologic changes that occur during healthy pregnancy as a possible explanation. Because the maternal immune system must adapt during pregnancy to accept the semi-allogeneic fetus, it has been hypothesized that these natural changes induced by pregnancy on maternal immune regulatory cells may have the additional benefit of controlling the immunopathology driving disease activity in RA. Here, we review our current understanding on the effects of pregnancy on RA and highlight some of the recent literature related to advancing our understanding on the immunology of pregnancy as well as the immunologic changes in RA during pregnancy.
Amin, S; Peterson, EJ; Reed, AM; Mueller, DL
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