Immunology of human implantation: From the invertebrates' point of view

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Pregnancies in outbred mammals may be regarded as successfully developed homografts. One of the hypotheses that attempts to answer the enigma of why the fetus is not rejected (fetal-maternal relationships are based on reciprocal expressions of foreign transplantation antigens) claims for the existence of possible evolutionary links between invertebrate allorecognition and mammalian implantation, based on some cellular similarities. This essay further discusses the possible evolutionary perspectives between vertebrates and invertebrates alloimmunities from a different viewpoint. We discuss similarities between natural transplantation in colonial marine invertebrates, which are followed by chimerism and a state of tolerance, and two natural transplantation events in the mammalian systems which both have records for prolonged chimerism and tolerance: the phenomenon of dizygotic twin fusions and the situation of fetal cells implantation. Earlier comparative evolutionary perspectives are revisited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-459
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks are due to G.Reed for discussions and for clearing up unsolved questions. This study is part of the research carried out in the Minerva Center for Marine Invertebrate Immunology and Developmental Biology, and was also supported by the US Israel Binational Science Foundation and by International Human Frontiers Science Program.


  • Alloimmunity
  • Chimerism
  • Evolution
  • Invertebrates
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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