Gatekeepers of the fetus: Characterization of placental macrophages.

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In this issue of JEM, Thomas et al. ( provide elegant technological and conceptual advances that further our understanding of the immune cells enriched at the maternal-fetal interface. Using new isolation strategies to better separate maternal- and fetal-derived cells, the authors identify previously undefined maternal-derived immune cells associated with the fetal-derived placenta and provide an in-depth analysis of the markers and characteristics of placental Hofbauer cells.






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Megli, Christina, and Carolyn B Coyne (2021). Gatekeepers of the fetus: Characterization of placental macrophages. The Journal of experimental medicine, 218(1). 10.1084/jem.20202071 Retrieved from

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Carolyn Coyne

George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor of Immunology

We study the pathways by which microorganisms cross cellular barriers and the mechanisms by which these barriers restrict microbial infections. Our studies primarily focus on the epithelium that lines the gastrointestinal tract and on placental trophoblasts, the cells that comprise a key cellular barrier of the human placenta. Our work is highly multidisciplinary and encompasses aspects of cell biology, immunology, and microbiology. Our long-term goals are to identify pathogen- and host-specific therapeutic targets to prevent or treat microbial infections and ultimately to alleviate the morbidity and mortality caused by these infections.

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