FETAL RESPONSE TO IMMUNIZATION.
Annual progress rept., 1 Apr 66-31 Mar 67,
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV BALTIMORE MD SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
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Techniques are being developed and refined to permit a variety of surgical procedures to be performed on the fetal lamb in utero without interruption of pregnancy. These approaches have been employed to study various aspects of the development of immunologic responses by the mammalian fetus. The fetus is able to respond actively to antigenic stimulus quite early in gestation, but throughout the course of gestation develops competence to different antigens at different times. This sequential attainment of immunologic competence appears not to be a function of the gross physical or chemical characteristics of the antigen. Once the fetus develops competence to a given antigen, it demonstrates no immaturity of response either qualitative or quantitative, but rather forms antibody and rejects skin homografts in an adult manner. Thymectomy of the fetal lamb at the end of the first third of gestation does not interfere with its ability to form circulating antibodies or to reject skin homografts in the normal manner, nor with its subsequent development of immunologic competence to other antigens. It has not been possible to demonstrate the development of any mutual tolerance for homograft antigens between mother and fetus during gestation. Studies were initiated to assess the possible contribution of immunologic mechanisms to the pathogenesis of congenital infectious disease processes, by infecting fetal lambs with the neurotropic bluetongue virus, and fetal Rhesus monkeys with Treponema pallidum. Author
- Medicine and Medical Research