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December 1977

Primary Care Medicine

Arch Intern Med. 1977;137(12):1663. doi:10.1001/archinte.1977.03630240001001

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A fetal immunosuppressive mechanism  ?Investigators in the Department of Immunology at Uppsala University in Sweden have proposed a mechanism by which the fetus may protect itself from rejection by the maternal immune system. R.A. Murgita and three co-workers there showed that α-feto protein, normally found only in early embryonic life, can exert a suppressive effect on antibody formation.The Swedish workers measured in vitro antibody production by cells from adult mouse spleens.Alpha-feto protein purified from serum of pregnant mice, greatly lowered the ability of the spleen cells to form antibody.The a-feto protein itself did not have to be present in the antibody-forming culture if cells that had been preincubated with α-feto protein were substituted. Moreover, by appropriate purification the Swedish group demonstrated that the cells suppressing the antibody production are thymusderived cells.Based on these data and what is already known about suppressor cells, the authors propose that

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