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New evidence explains poor infant immune response to certain vaccines, says MU researcher
Date:4/1/2009

urprised to notice that the Th-2 cells worked to destroy the small contingent of Th-1 cells that had responded to the antigen given at birth.

"Perhaps we should test vaccines at a very early age in animals to establish a regimen with the most effectiveness," Zaghouani said.

When a baby first gets an infection, the immature immune system responds with both types of T cells. Unfortunately, Th-1 cells have an unusual receptor that binds to a specific hormone, which is deadly to the Th-1 cells. Ironically, this particular hormone is produced by the Th-2 cells. This results in an overabundance of Th-2 cells during the first few days of life.

"We found that after six days, the immune systems in the mice matured enough to stop the death of the Th-1 cells," Zaghouani said. "After those initial days, the immune system is producing Th-1 cells with diminished hormonal receptors, thus surviving the effect of the compound that the Th-2 cells make."


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Contact: Christian Basi
BasiC@missouri.edu
573-882-4430
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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