Pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis: Insights into the immunology of fetal tolerance and control of autoimmunity

Shreyasee Amin, Erik J. Peterson, Ann M. Reed, Daniel L. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


It has long been recognized that symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) frequently improve spontaneously during pregnancy, only to flare postpartum. Although the mechanisms behind this phenomenon remain poorly understood, there is growing interest in the immunologic changes that occur during healthy pregnancy as a possible explanation. Because the maternal immune system must adapt during pregnancy to accept the semi-allogeneic fetus, it has been hypothesized that these natural changes induced by pregnancy on maternal immune regulatory cells may have the additional benefit of controlling the immunopathology driving disease activity in RA. Here, we review our current understanding on the effects of pregnancy on RA and highlight some of the recent literature related to advancing our understanding on the immunology of pregnancy as well as the immunologic changes in RA during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-455
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent rheumatology reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This work has been supported by a grant from the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis campaign and the Larry and Ruth Eaton Family Career Development Award in Innovative Arthritis Research.


  • Autoimmunity
  • HLA-G
  • Immune tolerance
  • Pregnancy
  • Regulatory T lymphocytes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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