We are all aware of the deep and profound connection that mothers have with their children, and as Scientific American points out, the connection is much deeper than anyone thought. Researchers have discovered that cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in several different organs found within the human body. These include muscle, thyroid, liver, heart, kidney and skin.
Studies have also shown that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. For example, male cells were found in the brains of women, and in some cases, these cells remain there for several decades. As far as the impact these cells of others have on the host, that’s unclear.
“We all consider our bodies to be our own unique being, so the notion that we may harbor cells from other people in our bodies seems strange. Even stranger is the thought that, although we certainly consider our actions and decisions as originating in the activity of our own individual brains, cells from other individuals are living and functioning in that complex structure. However, the mixing of cells from genetically distinct individuals is not at all uncommon. This condition is called chimerism after the fire-breathing Chimera from Greek mythology, a creature that was part serpent part lion and part goat. Naturally occurring chimeras are far less ominous though, and include such creatures as the slime mold and corals.” – Robert Martone from Scientific American
This discovery could have various implications, many of these cells from others that are found in the brains of another, have not been present in people with Alzheimer’s disease, so, although what is known with regards to the importance of these facts is very little, this is an emerging field of new science that could have a number of implications for health and other practical information
These cells, the ones from others that our present in our bodies, are called Microchimerism:
“This was first noticed in humans many years ago when cells containing the male “Y” chromosome were found circulating in the blood of women after pregnancy. Since these cells are genetically male, they could not have been the women’s own, but most likely came from their babies during gestation.” (source)
Microchimerism is a result of the exchange of cells across the placenta during pregnancy, but what they do in the mother’s body, just like the presence of cells from other in individuals, in our own bodies is unclear, but scientists believe that there is a good possibility that they also influence the immune system.
It will be interested to see further research into this topic, but one thing is clear, it further demonstrates the interconnectedness of us all. You can read more about it HERE.