Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific humoral and cellular immunity was evaluated prospectively during and after 19 normal human pregnancies. Seropositive pregnant subjects had lymphocyte proliferative responses to purified CMV antigen that were markedly depressed by the end of the third trimester of pregnancy despite persistent levels of complement-fixing and immunofluorescent antibodies to CMV. These reduced lymphocyte proliferative responses returned to levels detected early in pregnancy by one year after delivery. None of the subjects excreted CMV during the study period. General parameters of cellular immunity, including thymus derived-cell counts as determined by formation of erythrocyte rosettes and mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation, were unaffected. Reactivation of latent CMV during pregnancy might be related to transient depression of CMV-specific cellular immunity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by funds from the Grotto Foundation and the Research and Education Fund of the St. Paul Children's Hospital and by grants no. AMI8883 and no. HDI2342 from the U.S. Public Health Service.