Fetal and maternal white cells and B- and T-lymphocyte subpopulations in pregnant women with recent infection

Andres Poblete, Alistair Roberts, Laura Trespidi, Daniela Guarneri, Francesca Bonati, Umberto Nicolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective:To study maternal and fetal white cell counts, B- and T-lymphocyte subpopulations in pregnant women with evidence of recent infection. Methods: Thirty-seven pregnant women with recent infection and 38 controls were studied. All were referred for fetal blood sampling to exclude congenital infection, or to perform fetal chromosome analysis. There were 16 infected fetuses: 9 cytomegalovirus (CMV), 4 rubella, and 3 toxoplasmosis. Maternal and fetal blood was taken and white cell counts, the percentage of CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, CD56+, HLADR+CD3+T-lymphocyte subpopulations and CD19+B lymphocytes were measured. Results: The percentage of CD3+, CD8+, and HLADR+CD3+lymphocytes were significantly higher in infected mothers compared to controls, while CD19+ and the CD4+/CD8+ ratio were lower. Infected mothers carrying infected fetuses had significantly lower white blood cell counts compared to those infected mothers without fetal infection. The percentage of HLADR+CD3+T lymphocytes was significantly higher and the CD4+/CD8+ ratio lower in infected fetuses compared to controls and noninfected fetuses of infected mothers. Abnormal CD4+/CD8+ ratios and/or increased HLADR+CT3+T lymphocytes were found in 8 of 10 fetuses with structural abnormalities and/or hematological/biochemical signs of systemic damage, and in 7 of 27 without (RR =3.1, 95% CI =1.5-6.3). Conclusion: Both infected fetuses and their mothers have significant identifiable changes in white cell counts and T-lymphocyte subpopulations compared to controls. These tests may help in diagnosing maternal and fetal infection. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-383
Number of pages6
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Congenital infection
  • Fetal blood sampling
  • Lymphocyte subpopulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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