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Fetal Microchimerism in the Maternal Brain and Tissues

Smit, Soraya (2021) Fetal Microchimerism in the Maternal Brain and Tissues. Research Project 1, Biomedical Sciences.


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Pregnancy is one of the many miracles of life. However, pregnancy itself appears to have some miracles of its own. During pregnancy, a bidirectional transfer of cells between mother and child was discovered. This process is called ‘microchimerism’ (Mc). When fetal cells travel into the maternal circulation and tissues we speak of ‘fetal microchimerism’ (FMc). Fetal microchimeric cells (FMCs) are known to be able to pass through the blood-brain-barrier and possibly integrate into the maternal brain. Evidence suggests that the FMCs are able to differentiate into cell types belonging to the nervous system. It has been proposed that Mc arose approximately 93 million years ago, in the common ancestor of all eutherian mammals. In this thesis we propose a mechanism in which FMCs could integrate in the maternal brain and from there act as an extension of the placenta to improve maternal care, attachment, and resource allocation postpartum. We hypothesize that FMCs will be more abundant in areas of the maternal brain, associated with maternal behaviour, attachment and/or resource allocation. In this study we aim to assess the frequency and distribution of FMc in the maternal brain, spleen, and lung.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project 1)
Supervisor name: Olivier, J.D.A. and Elliot, M.G. and Smit, J.R.
Degree programme: Biomedical Sciences
Thesis type: Research Project 1
Language: English
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 16:06
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2021 16:06

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