Love cells: the affective role of the fetal cells migration into the maternal limbic system


Cellule d'amore: il ruolo affettivo della migrazione di cellule fetali nel sistema limbico materno
La Rivista Italiana di Ostetricia e Ginecologia, 2021, 4, 7-14
Why do foetal cells migrate in mother’s limbic system? During pregnancy the mother’s brain undergoes both microscopic and macroscopic changes. The foetus, throughout the whole pregnancy, sends its own cells (Pregnancy Associated Progenitor Cells, PAPCs) to colonize many maternal organs, including the brain and the limbic system. This phenomenon is known as “microchimerism”. The migration of PAPCs has both an evolutionary and affective meaning because the limbic system is the department of the brain dedicated to the regulation of emotions and memory.
In this review we have integrated the studies on the migration of PAPCs in the maternal brain with those, very recent, on the morphological and functional alterations that the maternal brain undergoes during pregnancy, indicating a possible synergistic effect of these two components.
Part of the biologic base of the maternal-child attachment takes place during this migration suggesting that the foetus could play a surprising active role in modulating the mother’s ability to love him, right from its life in uterus.

Available documents:Full text of the article