Infections at the maternal-fetal interface: an overview of pathogenesis and defence.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Infections are a major threat to human reproductive health, and infections in pregnancy can cause prematurity or stillbirth, or can be vertically transmitted to the fetus leading to congenital infection and severe disease. The acronym 'TORCH' (Toxoplasma gondii, other, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus) refers to pathogens directly associated with the development of congenital disease and includes diverse bacteria, viruses and parasites. The placenta restricts vertical transmission during pregnancy and has evolved robust mechanisms of microbial defence. However, microorganisms that cause congenital disease have likely evolved diverse mechanisms to bypass these defences. In this Review, we discuss how TORCH pathogens access the intra-amniotic space and overcome the placental defences that protect against microbial vertical transmission.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Megli, CJ; Coyne, CB

Published Date

  • February 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 67 - 82

PubMed ID

  • 34433930

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8386341

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1740-1534

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41579-021-00610-y


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England