Serum markers of B-cell activation in pregnancy during late gestation, delivery, and the postpartum period

Jorge Lima, Geraldine Cambridge, Andreia Vilas-Boas, Catarina Martins, Luís Miguel Borrego, Maria Leandro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Problem: B cells are vital for the normal evolution of pregnancy due to their humoral and possible regulatory activities. Our group and others have documented that circulating B-cell subsets undergo changes from normal late pregnancy to the postpartum period. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Therefore, this study examined the degree of B-cell activation in normal pregnancy by analyzing the levels of serum markers in healthy pregnant women during the third trimester of pregnancy, the day of delivery, and the postpartum period. Method of study: A prospective study including pregnant and non-pregnant women attending routine care was undertaken at a hospital clinic. Sociodemographic and clinical data were collected, along with peripheral blood samples. The serum levels of soluble CD23 (sCD23), B-cell-activating factor (BAFF), kappa (κ) and lambda (λ) free light chains (FLC), IgA, IgG, and IgM were quantified. Results: Our study included 43 third trimester pregnant and 35 non-pregnant women. In the pregnant women, the median levels of sCD23, BAFF, IgG, and κ FLC were significantly higher during the postpartum period than during the third trimester of pregnancy. Compared to the non-pregnant women, the third trimester pregnant women had higher median BAFF levels and lower sCD23, IgA, IgG, and FLC levels. Conclusion: Changes in serum markers of B-cell kinetics that occur during pregnancy often persist into the postpartum period and affect the secretion of immunoglobulins from different classes. Further studies are needed to clarify the biological significance of our observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13090
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • B lymphocytes
  • B-cell-activating factor
  • biomarkers
  • female
  • free light chains
  • immunoglobulins
  • pregnancy
  • soluble CD23


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