Immune function in children born to mothers with autoimmune diseases and exposed in utero to immunosuppressants

M. Biggioggero, M. O. Borghi, M. Gerosa, L. Trespidi, R. Cimaz, P. L. Meroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The administration of immunosuppressive drugs during pregnancy is often necessary in women with autoimmune diseases. Teratogenicity of immunosuppressives during pregnancy has been evaluated, only few data exist about the effects on immune systems. We therefore performed a pilot study on the influence of foetal exposure to immunosuppressives on immune function of babies born to mothers with autoimmune disorders. We investigated serological and cellular parameters as indicators of immune system status. We included in the study 14 babies (mean age 11 months, range 1-24) born to mothers with autoimmune diseases and exposed in utero to different immunosuppressants and, as controls, 14 babies whose mothers had autoimmune manifestations but did not receive immunosuppressive therapy. We evaluated: (i) complete blood count, (ii) immunoglobulin levels and IgG subclasses, (iii) antibody response to hepatitis B vaccine, (iv) leukocyte subpopulations and (v) interleukin-2 and interferon γ in vitro production by resting or activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. We did not find statistically significant differences between exposed and not exposed babies or among treatments for the tested parameters. Immunosuppressive regimens currently in use for controlling maternal autoimmune disorders do not significantly affect the immune status of the offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
JournalLupus
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Autoimmunity
  • Immunosuppressive therapy
  • Neonatal immune system
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology

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