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Review Article

Can Microchimerism Find Itself a Place in Psychiatric Research?

Bülent Demirbek, Erdal Yurt.

Microchimerism is the existence of small amount of cells or DNA of one individual within another individual. The most common reason for this condition is pregnancy. Even after normal pregnancies, cells that belong to the fetus can be found in the mother and maternal cells can be found in the fetus. It was shown that microchimerism can survive in the host. Researchers have speculated that microchimeric cells could induce a reaction similar to graft versus host disease which in turn may lead to autoimmune disorders. Microchimeric cells have been detected in the brain tissue of rats and fetuses and in other tissues and organs as well. There is no consensus on whether the microchimeric cells that migrate from mother to fetus is to repair some pathology in the body or is the cause of any possible future pathology. Even though there have been many studies on microchimerism in medicine, no study have been performed on the field of psychiatry. We believe that microchimerism may be an important alternative explanation to the etiology of chronic degenerative psychiatric diseases and postpartum clinical conditions. This manuscript discusses the applicability of microchimerism research in the field of psychiatric studies.

Key words: microchimerism, postpartum depression, stem cells, neurobiology, autoimmunity, psychosis

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