Extinguishing maternal immune responses during pregnancy: Implications for immunosuppression

Andrew L. Mellor, David H. Munn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Mammals owe their existence to immunosuppressive processes that prevent fetal rejection in utero. Blocking tryptophan catabolism during murine pregnancy allows maternal T cells to provoke fetal allograft rejection. Cells expressing indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), which catabolizes tryptophan, prevent Tcell cycle progression and enhance activation induced T cell death. Here, we discuss the role of cells expressing IDO in regulating maternal T cell immunity during pregnancy and consider whether this mechanism might contribute to immunological discrimination by promoting T cell tolerance in other circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Fetal rejection
  • Immunosuppression
  • Maternal immune responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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