Does Pregnancy Alter the Brain ’ s Immune Function?

Recent research published in the November 2017 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity suggests that a woman’s immune response in the brain may decrease during pregnancy and the postpartum period. These findings, discussed by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, might help to establish a connection between the brain’s immune function and the anxiety and mood disorders that are common throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period. Previous research has shown that during pregnancy, the response of the body’s peripheral immune system (the part of our protective system that does not protect the brain) is suppressed. This is believed to protect the growing fetus from being attacked by the mother’s immune system. Most women don’t notice any effects from this suppression, though it is interesting to note that those who suffer with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis might actually experience a temporary lessening of their symptoms at this time. The researchers set out to determine whether these types of immune changes seen in the body might also occur in the brain. Using mice, they first injected both pregnant and non-pregnant mice with a chemical that typically elicits a strong immune response. They then measured the amount of inflammation in the brains of the pregnant mice as well as the control group mice. Two areas of the brain that are connected with depression and anxiety — the hippocampus and the...
Source: World of Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Brain and Behavior General Grief and Loss Health-related Mental Health and Wellness Research Women's Issues Bipolar Depression fetal development immune changes Immune Function Immunity immunosuppression Mania miscarriage Moth Source Type: blogs

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