Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Pathogen Protection

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_735-1



The immunologic mechanisms that protect the human subject from microbial, viral, or other organism-derived antigen.


In the field of immunology, the study of human pregnancy is perhaps one of the most perplexing topics. A tightly regulated and nuanced balancing act exists between the ability of the maternal host to accept specific foreign paternally derived alloantigens to allow fertilization and support ongoing pregnancy and her need to respond properly to pathogenic invaders, commensals, cell damage, and malignant transformation. The maternal immune system is repeatedly challenged with fetal/paternal alloantigens throughout the reproductive process starting with exposure to semen, continuing through implantation and placentation, and perhaps lasting several decades after delivery in the form of fetal microchimerism. Likewise, invasion of microorganisms or soluble microbial...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s HealthUniversity of Missouri School of MedicineColumbiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Steven Arnocky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and SciencesNipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada