Research Topic

Host-Pathogen Interactions During Pregnancy: Effects on Maternal Health, Pregnancy Outcomes, and Fetal Development

About this Research Topic

During pregnancy, the maternal immune system is uniquely adapted to support the growth and development of the fetal semi-allograft, while still providing protection from infectious pathogens. These pregnancy-specific changes in immune function are influenced by hormones and other placental-derived growth factors and are proposed to benefit pregnancy by preventing immune activation in response to paternal antigens and by promoting placentation. The maternal immune system still responds to pathogens, yet this response is affected by pregnancy. In addition, maternal host interactions with commensal microflora are also affected by the changes brought on during pregnancy.

While many of the pregnancy-specific changes in immune function are beneficial, many adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage and preterm birth, have been associated with immune-mediated responses to pathogens. The changes in immune function during pregnancy have also been linked to greater maternal morbidity and mortality during viral pandemics. and to dysbiosis of maternal microflora. In addition, maternal immune activation has been shown to affect fetal development and has been associated with an increased risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring. Here, we invite investigators to submit Original Research articles and up-to-date Reviews of the primary literature that further our understanding of the maternal and placental immune response to pathogens and that help us better understand how these responses affect pregnancy, maternal and fetal outcomes.

This Research Topic welcomes:

• studies defining the effects of pregnancy on the maternal immune response to bacterial and viral pathogens at the maternal-fetal interface and non-reproductive tissues;
• studies examining the effects of pregnancy on pathogen-associated morbidity and mortality in women;
• studies examining how the maternal and/or placental immune response to pathogens affect pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, and preterm birth;
• studies examining how the maternal and/or placental immune response to pathogens affect fetal development and postnatal outcomes;
• studies defining the effects of pregnancy on the maternal microbiome (gut, vaginal, oral) and the effects of microbiome dysbiosis on pregnancy and fetal outcomes.


Keywords: Pregnancy, Immunity, Maternal Health, Placenta, Host-Pathogen


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

During pregnancy, the maternal immune system is uniquely adapted to support the growth and development of the fetal semi-allograft, while still providing protection from infectious pathogens. These pregnancy-specific changes in immune function are influenced by hormones and other placental-derived growth factors and are proposed to benefit pregnancy by preventing immune activation in response to paternal antigens and by promoting placentation. The maternal immune system still responds to pathogens, yet this response is affected by pregnancy. In addition, maternal host interactions with commensal microflora are also affected by the changes brought on during pregnancy.

While many of the pregnancy-specific changes in immune function are beneficial, many adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage and preterm birth, have been associated with immune-mediated responses to pathogens. The changes in immune function during pregnancy have also been linked to greater maternal morbidity and mortality during viral pandemics. and to dysbiosis of maternal microflora. In addition, maternal immune activation has been shown to affect fetal development and has been associated with an increased risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring. Here, we invite investigators to submit Original Research articles and up-to-date Reviews of the primary literature that further our understanding of the maternal and placental immune response to pathogens and that help us better understand how these responses affect pregnancy, maternal and fetal outcomes.

This Research Topic welcomes:

• studies defining the effects of pregnancy on the maternal immune response to bacterial and viral pathogens at the maternal-fetal interface and non-reproductive tissues;
• studies examining the effects of pregnancy on pathogen-associated morbidity and mortality in women;
• studies examining how the maternal and/or placental immune response to pathogens affect pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, and preterm birth;
• studies examining how the maternal and/or placental immune response to pathogens affect fetal development and postnatal outcomes;
• studies defining the effects of pregnancy on the maternal microbiome (gut, vaginal, oral) and the effects of microbiome dysbiosis on pregnancy and fetal outcomes.


Keywords: Pregnancy, Immunity, Maternal Health, Placenta, Host-Pathogen


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
12 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
12 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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