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Article
December 8, 1989

Immunology, Contraception, and Preeclampsia

Author Affiliations

University of Health Sciences/ The Chicago Medical School North Chicago, Ill

University of Health Sciences/ The Chicago Medical School North Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1989;262(22):3184. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430220107040
Abstract

At the beginning of this century, it was suggested that the etiology of preeclampsia/eclampsia had an immunologic component. The hypothesis advanced was that preeclampsia/ eclampsia reflected either a partial breakdown of the mechanisms responsible for the normal exemption of the fetoplacental unit from rejection as an allograft or an immunologic response directed against tissue- or organ-specific antigens associated with the placenta.1 Since then, increasingly sophisticated investigations that have paralleled new developments in immunobiology have furthered our understanding of the immunobiology of the maternal-fetal relationship and thereby this condition.

There are cogent immunologic explanations for the basic observations regarding preeclampsia/eclampsia.2 The immunologic factors contributing to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia/eclampsia suggest that this disorder is most likely to arise in a woman who (1) becomes pregnant early in her coital experience and is confronted initially with a large, healthy placenta whose size and invasive propensity of its trophoblast cells in

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