HCR.20.060 – In depth analysis of maternal immunity during pregnancy to develop new treatments for pregnancy disorders

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 091 Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause - can we make them better for women?

The maternal immune response is a paramount factor influencing pregnancy outcome. Importantly, a state of immune tolerance must exist in order to withstand inflammatory injury and prevent immune activation towards fetal allo-antigens. Although the exact pathophysiology of pregnancy complications such as preterm birth, preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction is not known, it is known that maternal inflammatory dysregulation plays a key role. These complications of pregnancy results maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity. Moreover, these complications lead to long-term effects on health in later life for both mother and child.
The regulation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy is complex and many factors are known to modulate maternal immunity and with that pregnancy outcomes. Being able to modulate maternal immunity is a promising pathway to improve pregnancy outcomes. However, before being able to modulate this pathway, its determining factors have to be analysed. In this project an unique prospective birth cohort study will be used to analyse the regulators of maternal immunity during pregnancy and to identify possible promising pathways. Biological samples (such as blood, urine, stool, placenta, breast milk, vaginal smear, nasal epithelial smear and buccal smear), data on environmental, social and medical data acquired from questionnaires and lung function assessment will be combined. These acquired data on immunity, microbiome, metabolism, genetics, epigenetics and environmental influences will be integrated to get more insight in intrinsic and extrinsic determinants for regulation of maternal immunity during pregnancy and identify possible pathways. Using animal models these pathways will be further explored.


immunity, microbiome, Pregnancy, treatment


Organisation University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Name Dr. J.R. (Jelmer) Prins
E-mail j.r.prins@umcg.nl