The Immunology of a successful pregnancy

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

This is a Euroscicon Small Conference,  an outline of the day can be found at

The Immunology of a successful pregnancy
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 09:00 - 17:00

Cineworld: The O2
Peninsula Square
SE10 0DX
United Kingdom

Map and Directions

This event will challenge scientists and clinicians interested in the field of reproductive immunology to evaluate many of the 'classical concepts' associated with pregnancy immunology. This event aims to define new approaches to allow a better understanding of immunity during pregnancy that will benefit mothers and foetuses in different clinical scenarios.

This event  has CPD accreditation and is part of the 2013 Pregnancy

Meeting Chair: Dr Rupsha Fraser, Reproductive and Cardiovascular Disease Research Group, Division of Biomedical Sciences St George’s, University of London, UK

Who Should Attend
Biotech and Pharma Industry Managers: CEOs, Chief Scientists, Group Heads, Senior and Junior Scientists, Research working in the field of immunology and pregnancy
Academic and Research Institutes: Group and Lab Heads, Postdoctoral Scientists and Research Students working in the field of immunology and pregnancy
Clinicians: Anyone working in the field of pregnancy and diagnosing pregnancy-related illnesses and pregnancy outcome

The deadline for abstract submissions for oral and poster presentation has now passed.

Talk times include 5 – 10 minutes for questions

9:00 – 9:45            Registration

9:45 – 10:00          Introduction by the Chair: Dr Rupsha Fraser, Reproductive and Cardiovascular Disease Research
Group, Division of Biomedical Sciences St George’s, University of London, UK

10:00 – 10:30        The Role of Decidual Natural Killer Cells and Macrophages in Early Pregnancy

Dr Rupsha Fraser, Reproductive and Cardiovascular Disease Research Group, Division of Biomedical Sciences St George’s, University of London, UK
A successful pregnancy is dependent on efficient placentation and remodelling of maternal uterine vessels (spiral arteries) to allow sufficient oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the developing fetus. Decidual natural killer (dNK) cells and macrophages (dMϕs) accumulate around spiral arteries in early pregnancy and are present during uterine spiral artery remodelling. We have modelled the cellular interactions at the maternal-fetal interface., providing the first demonstration of a functional role for dNK cells in influencing vascular cells, and a potential mechanism contributing to impaired vessel remodelling in pregnancies with a higher uterine artery resistance is presented. We also present the phenotypes of dMϕs that may be present during these events, their roles in the first trimester of pregnancy, as well as the effects of dNK-derived factors on dMϕ polarization, and spiral artery remodelling.

10:30 – 11:00       Vaccination during pregnancy: which, who, why when?

Professor Dilly OC Anumba, MBBS FWACS FRCOG MD LL.M (Medical Law), Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Honorary Consultant Obstetrician and Fetomaternal Medicine Subspecialist, The University of Sheffield, UK
This talk will summarise the immunological basis of vaccinations during pregnancy, highlighting routine and indicated vaccines, and the rationale for their administration. The evidence base for the recommenedd vaccines during pregnancy in the UK will be outlined and areas of uncertainty discussed including an outline of contraindicated vaccines.

11:00 – 11:30       Speakers’ photo then mid-morning break and poster exhibition and trade show

11:30 – 12:00       Maternal immunity and the pathogenesis of  Chlamydia abortus: peripheral immunity vs


Mr Sean Wattegedera, Research Scientist, Moredun Research Institute, UK
The health and welfare of ruminants is key to providing safe and sustainable food for human consumption. Numerous pathogens cause reproductive loses in most sheep rearing countries worldwide and Chlamydia abortus is the most common cause of diagnosed ovine abortion in the UK. Animals can be infected prior to pregnancy and pathogenesis of disease appears to be intimately linked with the progression of pregnancy. To improve on our control measures, it is important to better understand the maternal and fetal immune responses during pregnancy. I will present data from aspects of our research covering these areas.

12:00  – 12:30       Oral Presentations:

12:00 – 12:15    Oocyte Donation Pregnancies are Associated with a Higher Incidence of HLA


Lisa E.E.L.O. Lashley, Marie-Louise P. van der Hoorn, Geert Haasnoot, Dave Roelen, Frans H.J. Claas.
Leiden, The Netherlands

12:15 – 12:30    Maternal NK cells regulate fetal growth and placental efficiency in the mouse.

Selma Boulenouar, Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, Hong Wa Yung, Louise Gaynor, Steve Charnock-Jones, Abby Fowden, Graham Burton and Francesco Colucci
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology,  University of Cambridge, UK

12:30  – 13:30     Lunch, poster exhibition and trade show

13:30 – 14:30      Discussion session

This discussion session is an informal question and answer session.  This is an ideal opportunity to get advice and opinion from experts in this area.  This session is not for questions about specific talks, which can be asked after the speakers session, but for discussing either general topics or specific issues.
There are three ways you can ask questions:
1.    Before the session you can submit your question to Euroscicon staff at the registration desk,
2.    Before and during the session you can submit a question or comments, by email, which will be provided on the day of the event
3.    During the session you can put your hand up and join in

14:30 – 15:00     Anti-inflammatories as a strategy for the prevention of inflammation induced preterm labour

Dr Lynne Sykes NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow, Imperial College London, UK
Successful pregnancy is dependent on a carefully balanced modification of the maternal immune response so as to tolerate the semi-allogeneic fetus whilst maintaining protection from harmful pathogens. During term labour, a physiological activation of the immune system occurs which leads to uterine contractility, fetal membrane rupture and cervical remodelling. However, premature activation of the immune response, often in association with infection, is the most common identifiable cause of preterm labour. Inflammation is also associated with adverse neonatal outcomes, independent of prematurity. This talk will explore the role of inflammation in term and preterm labour, and the potential for anti-inflammatories in the prevention of inflammation/infection induced preterm labour.

15:00 – 15:30      Afternoon Tea, last poster session  and trade show

15:30 – 16:00     The immonumodulating effect of seminal fluid on maternal T cells

Tess Meuleman M.D, PhD, Leiden University of Medical Centre, The Netherlands
Seminal fluid may play a role in priming the maternal immune system before implantation and therefore helping to create a tolerogeneic environment at the implantation site leading to normal pregnancy. To investigate the influence of seminal fluid on maternal peripheral blood mononuclear cells we performed mixed lymphocyte cultures. Seminal fluid is capable of inducing profliferation of T cells and it seems these cells have a more regulatory phenotype. Failure of this immunoregulatory function or less exposure to semen may be the underlying cause in abnormal implantation and leading to complicated pregnancies.


16:00 – 16:30     The placenta behaves as a parasitic endocrine organ

Professor Philip Lowry, Emeritus Professor, University of Reading, UK
The poorly implanted placenta secretes neurokinin B to correct the associated ischemia, but high concentrations then stimulate all three neurokinin receptors in the mother’s circulation, probably causing many of the symptoms of preeclampsia. Subsequently it has been found that the placenta post-translationally modifies its neurokinin B  ̶  along with pro-corticotropin releasing factor, pro-activin, pro-follistatin and pro-hemokinin ̶ with a moiety containing phosphocholine, a group originally found on certain secreted parasitic proteins that endowed them with immune-inhibiting properties. Thus the placenta may be utilising the same survival mechanism as some parasites, attenuating immune surveillance by the mother, and thus avoiding rejection.

16:30 - 17:00     Chairman’s Summary and Close of Meeting


Keywords:  Pregnancy, spiral artery remodelling, decidual natural killer cell, decidual macrophages, pre-eclampsia, IL-1superfamily, soluble ST2, inflammation, cytokines, Seminal fluid, immunomodulation, pregnancy, Tregs, implantation, Host-pathogen interactions, cytokines, Chlamydia, placenta, Neurokinin B, Phosphocholine, CRF, Melanotropin, mmune activation, NF-kB, preterm labour

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