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SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses and immune regulation in infected pregnant women.

  • Hsieh, Li-En
  • Grifoni, Alba
  • Dave, Hiral
  • Wang, Jasmine
  • Johnson, Diana
  • Zellner, Jennifer
  • Sidney, John
  • Chambers, Christina
  • Franco, Alessandra
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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We studied the T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 spike and non-spike peptide epitopes in eight convalescent pregnant women together with the immune monitoring that included innate tolerogenic dendritic cell populations important to maintain the immunological mother/fetus interface to address a potential risk for the antiviral cellular response in the outcome of pregnancy. Four subjects had pre-existing chronic inflammatory conditions that could have potentially affected the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response. Seven of eight subjects responded to SARS-CoV-2 peptides with differences within CD4+ T helper (Th) and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells (CTL). SARS-CoV-2-specific inducible regulatory T cells (iTreg) were numerous in circulation. CD4+ T cell memory included central memory T cells (TCM) and effector memory (TEM). As far as the CD8+ memory repertoire, TCM and TEM were very low or absent in eight of eight subjects and only effector cells that revert to CD45RA+, defined as TEMRA were measurable in circulation. T cells were in the normal range in all subjects regardless of pre-existing inflammatory conditions. The immune phenotype indicated the expansion and activation of tolerogenic myeloid dendritic cells including CD14+ cDC2 and CD4+ ILT-4+ tmDC. In summary, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced a physiological anti-viral T cell response in pregnant women that included SARS-CoV-2-specific iTreg with no negative effects on the tolerogenic innate dendritic cell repertoire relevant to the immune homeostasis of the maternal-fetal interface. All eight subjects studied delivered full-term, healthy infants.

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