Tag Archives: cells

Some are hybrids, some are not

Microchimerism is an interesting phenomenon that describes the hosting of foreign cells in an individuum – the prefix micro relates to the rather low counts of foreign cells (see the self discussion).
It is believed (but unproven) that most cases of microchimerism relate to the persistence of fetal cells in the maternal organism. The background of microchimerism is extremely complicated as highlighted in a recent review about the immunology of placentation in mammals. This paper has some nice cartoons about the types of placentation (epitheliochorial, endothelichorial and haemochorial) where the invasive potential of fetal trophoblast cells is the culprit of reciprocal (?) cell traffic between mother and fetus. The highest risk is found in women with induced abortion; cell count is ranging from 0 to 21 male cells per 100,000 female cells in peripheral blood; transfer may occur from mother <-> child, twin <-> twin, or sib <-> mother <-> sib.
Microchimerism has been examined in transplantation medicine (where the recipient replaces the outer donor organ epithelium), in blood transfusion and HCT, as well as in some autoimmune diseases (systemic sclerosis, SLE, thyroiditis, PBC). A clinical review reports that fetal cells have been found to persist for many years, probably for a lifetime.
I have doubts if that is true as I am not aware of any quantitative long-term study. Nearly all studies identified only male cells in women although now genomic studies of single cells are possible allowing a much better identification of foreign cells. If you are looking for a PhD thesis, microchimerism could be your field!
I already wondered if microchimerism could lead to genotyping errors, a question that can now easily be tested on the garbage of genotyping labs: We usually have genotyping errors in the 1-10 o/oo range; sometimes we see also triallelic SNPs. As far as I can renember, microchimerism has never been analyzed in the allergy field, although allergy can transplanted as well as asthma. Yea, yea.