Immune function during pregnancy varies between ecologically distinct populations

Carmen Hové, Benjamin C. Trumble, Amy Anderson, Jonathan Stieglitz, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven, and Aaron D. Blackwell


Background and objectives: Among placental mammals, females undergo immunological shifts during pregnancy to accommodate the fetus (i.e. fetal tolerance). Fetal tolerance has primarily been characterized within post-industrial populations experiencing evolutionarily novel conditions (e.g. reduced pathogen exposure), which may shape maternal response to fetal antigens. This study investigates how ecological conditions affect maternal immune status during pregnancy by comparing the direction and magnitude of immunological changes associated with each trimester among the Tsimane (a subsistence population subjected to high pathogen load) and women in the USA.

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Published in

Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, n. 1, July 2020, pp. 114–128