Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis: A Breakdown in Immune Tolerance Comparable to Allograft Rejection?

Chloe Brady, Charlotte C. Williams, Megan Sharps, Amena Shelleh, Gauri Batra, Alexander Heazell, Ian Crocker

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Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI) is a pregnancy disorder characterised by infiltration of maternal macrophages into the intervillous space of the human placenta, often with accompanying perivillous fibrin deposition. CHI is associated strongly with fetal growth restriction and increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Although rare, affecting 6 in every 10000 pregnancies beyond 12 weeks’ gestation, the rate of recurrence is high at 25-100%. To date, diagnosis of CHI can only be made post-delivery upon examination of the placenta due to a lack of diagnostic biomarkers, and criteria varies across publications. No treatment options have shown proven efficacy, and CHI remains a serious obstetric conundrum. Although its underlying aetiology is unclear, due to the presence of maternal macrophages and the reported increased incidence in women with autoimmune disease, CHI is hypothesised to be an inappropriate immune response to the semi-allogeneic fetus. Given this lack of understanding, treatment approaches remain experimental with limited rationale. However, there is recent evidence that immunosuppression and antithrombotic therapies may be effective in preventing recurrence of associated adverse pregnancy outcomes. With similarities noted between the pathological features of CHI and acute rejection of solid organ transplants, further investigation of this hypothesis may provide a basis for tackling CHI and other immune-related placental conditions. This review will explore parallels between CHI and allograft rejection and identify areas requiring further confirmation and exploitation of this comparison.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2020


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