Article Review: Your cells are my cells
Article Review: Your cells are my cells —- Cell transfer during pregnancy
The author‘s intention seems to be a desire of revealing information from research studies regarding how cells in the human body are transferred between mother and fetus. Scientists are now becoming aware that cells do mutate and continue reproducing themselves long after they were expected to die. Traditional scientific discoveries revealed that cells are transferred from mother to fetus indicative of a one way flow of traffic. However, it was discerned to be a two way stream whereby cells from male infants are transferred to their mothers as well (Nelson, 2008)
Functions of the placenta
The author outlines placental functions as it pertains to transmission of oxygen and nutrients from mother to child. This by now is considered common knowledge in the science. Modern science now understands that cells are transmitted from the fetus via the placental umbilical route to mothers as well. It is called microchimerism. Precisely, it is considered the intermingling of cells to designate the phenomenon, ’your cells are my cells (Nelson, 2008).
The argument is that the umbilicus is not an “impermeable barricade” (Nelson, 2008). The surprise lies in how and when these cells cross from fetus to mother. It is believed to be transmitted in the same way cells move from mother to child. More so, it was discovered that in normal women these cells persist in the body for years replicating themselves (Nelson, 2008)
Immune cells of the body
Further studies relating the immunological effects of this physiology revealed that it could be both helpful as well as harmful. At the moment scientists are still researching the extent of positive and not so beneficial impacts of these interactions among cells within the maternal and fetal circulation (Nelson, 2008).
It was discovered that disease cells are transferred from mother to infant which is not such a beneficial process. Also, there are autoimmune reactions within the host when cells counteract the functions of each other. Scientists tend to believe that neonatal lupus could be initiated by some of these intracellular activities (Nelson, 2008).
More importantly, research has proven that despite evidence of disease transference between mother and fetus subsequent pregnancies may not have the same result. Therefore, the conclusion drawn from this difference is that it all depends on the strength of the communicating immune system in the fetus.
Other sources have supported theoretical assumptions advanced that the progenitor cytotrophoblast cell actually is the placenta stem cell. These cells proliferate during gestation developing through two distinct routes. They are either villous cytotrophoblast which can mutate into syncytiotrophoblasts (outer cellular layer) or extravillous (inner layer) (Knerr et.al, 2002)
Importantly, as it relates to the discussion in this article syncytiotrophoblasts are essential for transference of nutrients; gases, waste products, steroids, hormones which determines interactions between fetal maternal exchange (Knerr et.al, 20. This can, perhaps, explain the physiology of microchimerism in that from this center all of its activities emanate.
Concerns, however, pertain to some incidences of some fetuses being affected by transference or non transference of substances across these cells, while others are unaffected. Studies have proven where HIV virus even though is capable of transferring across the placenta al infants are not born with the disease. Therefore there are still unexplained mysteries within the stem cell science to be explained in the theory of “your cells are my cells.”
Knerr I, Beinder E, Rascher W, Syncytin (2002). A novel human endogenous retroviral gene in
human placenta: evidence for its dysregulation in preeclampsia and HELP
syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol. (186), 210.
Nelson, J. (2008). Your Cells Are My Cells. Scientific American, 298(2), 72-79.