1. Institute of Reproductive Health, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, P.R. China.
2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Liyuan Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, P.R. China.
3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong, P.R. China.
4. C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
# These authors have contributed equally to this work.
A successful pregnancy requires the maternal immune system to tolerate an allogeneic fetus. The incidence of preeclampsia and other complications related to impaired fetal tolerance is lower during the second pregnancy than during the first pregnancy. At the same time, compared with normal pregnant women in the previous pregnancy, patients with pregnancy complications in the previous pregnancy also have an increased risk of the disease when they become pregnant again. This difference may be related to the immunological memory of pregnancy. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are immunosuppressive CD4+ T cells that play a predominant role in maintaining immune tolerance. In addition, Tregs possess immunological memory properties, including fetal or paternal-specific memory Tregs and Tregs expressing memory cell makers, forming an immunoregulatory memory against fetal antigens. In this review, we provide an overview of the characteristics of memory Tregs in pregnancy, evidence regarding the existence of memory Tregs in human pregnancy, as well as in mouse models. We also discuss the mechanism of memory Tregs induction, maintenance, and action. In addition, we described their changes during the first pregnancy, second pregnancy, postpartum, and pathological pregnancy in order to provide new targets for the diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy related diseases.
Keywords: regulatory T cells, memory, pregnancy, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus