Maternal micro-chimeric cells in the multiple sclerosis brain

Heidi Snethen, Jody Ye, Kathleen M. Gillespie, Neil J. Scolding*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Maternal microchimeric cells (MMC) pass across the placenta from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. MMC have been identified in healthy adults, but have been reported to be more frequent and at a higher concentration in individuals with autoimmune diseases. MMC in brain tissue from individuals with autoimmune neurological disease has never previously been explored. The present study aims to identify and quantify MMC in adult human brain from control and multiple sclerosis (MS) affected individuals using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with a probe for the X and Y chromosomes. Post mortem brain tissue from 6 male MS cases and 6 male control cases were examined. Female cells presumed to be MMC were identified in 5/6 MS cases and 6/6 control cases. Cell specific labeling identified female cells of neuronal and immune phenotype in both control and active MS lesion tissue. This study shows that female cells presumed to be MMC are a common phenomenon in adult human brain where they appear to have embedded into brain tissue with the ability to express tissue specific markers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101925
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Early online date9 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Maternal microchimerism
  • Multiple sclerosis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal micro-chimeric cells in the multiple sclerosis brain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this