Clinical implications of maternal-fetal cellular trafficking

Semin Pediatr Surg. 2013 Feb;22(1):62-5. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2012.10.011.


Maternal-fetal cellular trafficking (MFCT) is the bidirectional passage of cells that results in the presence of fetal cells in the mother and maternal cells in the fetus. This naturally occurring biological phenomenon has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases in both mothers and children. However, MFCT may also have beneficial consequences in establishing and maintaining maternal-fetal tolerance and may have long-term consequences for transplantation tolerance. There is also evidence that trafficking is altered during pregnancy complications and fetal intervention. An improved understanding of cellular trafficking during pregnancy will lead to progress in multiple fields including autoimmunity, transplantation, and fetal surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Chimerism*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / etiology
  • Fetal Diseases / therapy
  • Fetal Therapies
  • Histocompatibility, Maternal-Fetal*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / genetics
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / immunology
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology*
  • Pregnancy