It is not a lie to think that the mother is connected to her child years after giving birth.
What we can define as a cellular invasion is nothing more than the transport of genetic material from the fetus to the organism of its mother.
It is widely studied by scientists because it is associated with immunological and physiological processes in the mother’s body.
What is microchimerism?
Microchimerism is the existence of a minute number of cells that do not belong to the host in which they are established.
With regard to pregnancies, there is the so-called fetal microchimerism, which refers to fetal cells.
Either of the boy or girl established in the blood circulation and tissues of the mother during pregnancy and after giving birth.
A process that occurs in the organism of all human beings is that the immune system identifies any material or microorganism not belonging to the host.
And it defends the body against such foreign bodies.
In the case of pregnant women, the immunity process is inhibited so that the fetus is protected.
Otherwise the fetus could be identified as a foreign body that does not belong to the host.
It would then be rejected and attacked.
Once the immune system is inhibited, the fetal cells can anchor in the mother’s tissues and adapt to their environment.
While those maintained in the peripheral blood are affected.
Even after many years, traces of fetal cells are identified in the mother.
Being a subject of research for all the effects produced for good or bad in the body.
Fetal microchimerism and factors influencing it.
Fetal microchimerism causes major effects on immunological processes.
Specifically, on autoimmunity (your own defenses against yourself) and transplant tolerance.
In humans, this process of microchimerism occurs in the fourth week of gestation.
It was determined by the findings of fetal DNA in the mother up to that stage of pregnancy.
In turn, the first appearance of fetal cells occurs in the middle of the process of fetal organogenesis and just when the maternal-fetal circulation through the placenta is stabilized.
It has been suggested that microchimerism occurs in all pregnancies and is capable of remaining present for decades.
It is also thought that if fetal cells reach the bone marrow during pregnancy, they may remain there and proliferate throughout life.
Just as pluripotent stem cells are capable of transforming into any cell in the body.
Fetal cells replicate this function in the tissues where they establish themselves.
They remain for an indefinite period of time and act just like the surrounding cells.
Immunological process related to the fetus and the mother.
In normal pregnancy, all immunological changes are predictable and precise.
Therefore, it represents an important point to highlight, since its suppression goes hand in hand with fetal development within the uterus.
Human leukocyte antigens (HLA) function in such a way that they allow the differentiation of the cells of the organism with the foreign substances present in the body.
These antigens relate to the fetus and the mother because they allow fetal cells to persist longer.
At the level of the uterus, a whole complex inflammatory process takes place and is experienced during the first 12 weeks in order to safeguard the fetus within the protective and unfamiliar environment of the pregnant woman.
Where can fetal cells be found?
The fetal cells that formed part of the microchimerism are found in tissues related to the transfer of nutrients to the fetus.
In the case of the breasts, responsible for producing the milk used as the main nutrient for the neonate in the first months of life.
They are the main organs in which the genetic material of the fetus is seen.
On the other hand, the thyroid gland is found and is related to the metabolism and the regulation of the temperature that is directed towards the baby.
Finally, fetal cells may be in the brain.
Being the organ identified as having links associated with the mother’s attachment to her child as well as with its psychological development.
However, and as indicated in studies related to the subject, it is normal for these cells to be involved in the mother’s immunologic and injurious processes.
Studies suggest that they may also be found in tumor processes, both in development and in protection against tumors.
Fetal cells in the mother, good or bad?
With respect to research, the biological contribution of fetal cells in the woman’s life has been questioned.
Even so, it has been determined that these cells may have reparative support in the face of injury.
As mentioned at the beginning, during and after pregnancy, fetal microchimerism is preserved and is directly associated with tissue repair.
In the face of injury and inflammatory processes, healing consists of three phases: inflammatory process, cell production and tissue remodeling.
And it is promoted by the bone marrow through the differentiation of its stem cells.
In any case, fetal stem cells within the marrow are able to replicate this support and act as repairers.
As do cytokines (cell regulators) and growth factors (repairers).
Relationship of fetal cells with cancerous, autoimmune and transplantation processes.
At the same time that microchimerism is associated with tissue repair, the finding of fetal cells has been demonstrated in the organ affected by a cancerous process.
Fetal cells may also have a protective effect on cancer, since pregnant women diagnosed with cancer have shown greater resistance to tumor development, and therefore some protection due to microchimerism is considered.
In cases of autoimmunity, we are still trying to understand the relationship between an autoimmune disease and fetal cells.
For there may be a predilection for the development of these diseases during pregnancy or after delivery, and these cells have been isolated from damaged tissue.
Despite all this, there is still no conclusive evidence to confirm a true connection.
Speaking of transplants, in the event that the mother donates any of her organs, there will be an admixture of fetal cells in the transplanted organ, which are capable of leading to rejection in another body.
The risk of rejection increases even more if the woman has had multiple pregnancies during her life.
Clearly much remains to be discovered and understood about fetal microchimerism and both the therapeutic and harmful effects following implantation of fetal cells into tissues and bone marrow.
It will therefore be necessary to investigate further and identify how it affects the pregnant woman from the birth of her baby onwards.
For Grupo PACS and Teleradiology it is interesting and essential to understand and research in medical matters of any event related to factors that can benefit or harm the lives of people.
Pregnant women represent an important group of the population due to the complex process of fetal development and the need for maternal care.
Therefore, it is essential to make the most important findings known to keep the public informed.