Immunology of Pregnancy 2013

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Since a September, 1992, Nature article which read: “Can there be life without LIF?”, researchers now realize that the maternal immune system is both a foe (it can reject the conception) and a ...
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Pp. xviii-xivii (30)

Gérard Chaouat


In this introduction, we briefly review the “evolution of viviparity” as would say Peter Medawar, encompassing not only the vertebrates but the (very early) invertebrates, in order to see the cohabitation with the adaptive and innate immune system in an evolutionary perspective. We personally believe this approach is of importance, since viviparity and the “allograft problem” did not emerge AFTER the adaptive immune system, but LONG before, as seen for example with … placental velvet worms. Even if the placentae in such species are obviously not as complex as mammalian ones, they are “non self allografts”. Thus, they, and other aspects, lead to heretic questions which might lead to reconsider the approach of the foeto maternal relationship, too often seen as a confrontation rather than a symbiosis/cohabitation.


Evolution, viviparity, immunity, reproduction, rejection, self, non-self, gametes, embryo, invertebrates, mammals, botryllus, onychophora, sharks, mice, human.


Director of Research Emeritus, U976 INSERM /UMR 976 CNRS, Pavillon Bazin, Hôpital Saint Louis, Avenue Claude Vellefaux, 75010, Paris France.