Advertisement

What role do T cells and B cells play in fetal immunity?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
A fetus's early immunity comes in the form of T cells and the primitive Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs), which work together to identify potential invaders and fight against them. The immunity process in pregnancy is one-of-a-kind, as the mom's body must help protect what it might initially see as a potential invader.

T cells work by looking for bad guys in the body and creating memories of any potential invaders they encounter, like bacteria, viruses, or parasites (a biological Most Wanted List of sorts). The T cells act as the captains and generals of the fetal immune system army—making decisions about how many immune cells will respond to potential threats, ensuring that the body doesn't over- or under-respond.

B cells serve as the privates, waiting for a signal to tell them whether the invader is a good guy or bad guy. Once they know it's a bad guy, they start making antibodies and go blasting away.
YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

More About this Book

YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

Can I get a cavity filled while pregnant? Will avoiding spicy foods make my kid a picky eater? Can I really increase my baby's IQ while she's in utero? Whether you're pregnant for the first time,...

Continue Learning about Fetal Development Basics & Pregnancy

Mom’s Sweet Tooth Puts Babies at Risk of Asthma
Mom’s Sweet Tooth Puts Babies at Risk of Asthma
“What took you so long?” a pregnant Lucy asks Ricky on an episode of I Love Lucy. “There’s only one store in New York City that makes a papaya juice m...
Read More
How does music affect a developing fetus?
RealAgeRealAge
We encourage you to listen to all kinds of music during and after pregnancy. This will help stimulat...
More Answers
What is the role of Vitamin B6 in fetal development?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Low levels of vitamin B6 are associated with a delay in the development of the baby's nervous system...
More Answers
Should I read aloud to my baby before he's born?
RealAgeRealAge
While fetuses hear much the way that we hear a next-door stereo (lots of bass, not a lot of high...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.