The HLA class Ib genes, HLA-E, HLA-F, and HLA-G, were discovered long after the classical HLA class Ia genes. The elucidation of their functions had a modest beginning. However, their basic functions and involvement in pathophysiology and a range of diseases are now emerging. Although results from a range of studies support the functional roles for the HLA class Ib molecules in adult life, especially HLA-G and HLA-F have most intensively been, and were also primarily, studied in relation to reproduction and pregnancy. The expression of HLA class Ib proteins at the feto-maternal interface in the placenta seems to be important for the maternal acceptance of the semi-allogenic fetus. In contrast to the functions of HLA class Ia, HLA-G possesses immune-modulatory and tolerogenic functions. Here, we review an accumulating amount of data describing the functions of HLA class Ib molecules in relation to fertility, reproduction, and pregnancy, and a possible role for these molecules in certain pregnancy complications, such as implantation failure, recurrent spontaneous abortions, and pre-eclampsia. The results from different kinds of studies point toward a role for HLA class Ib, especially HLA-G, throughout the reproductive cycle from conception to the birth weight of the child.
Immunogenetics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 11, 2017
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