Deficiencies Of The Newborn Immune System Essay

1481 Words Jun 7th, 2016 null Page
Deficiencies in the newborn immune system compared to adults give them a heightened susceptibility to infectious diseases. Overall, the newborn immune system is relatively underdeveloped which leads to a reduced number of available immune cells. Moreover, neonatal immune cells can be present in different proportions in different sites relative to adult immune cell populations. The neonatal immune system is also relatively naïve resulting in a lack of pre-existing memory immune cells which leads to a dependency on maternal transfer of antibodies. The newborn immune system is also biased towards production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. A thorough understanding of these deficiencies is an important step to help protect neonates from invading pathogens, such as GBS. Since the neonatal immune system has been recently reviewed in detail elsewhere,15,16 we will only briefly discuss neonatal immune deficiencies here.

Innate immunity deficiencies. Since the adaptive immune system has had limited exposures to antigens in utero resulting in a deficient adaptive immune response, neonates mainly rely on their innate immune response to pathogens. Neutrophils are one of the main phagocytes found in the blood and act as first line of defense against infection. However, the neutrophil storage pool is much lower than that of adults and neonatal rats challenged with GBS developed neutropenia and neutrophil storage pools rapidly become depleted.17 In addition to the small pool of stored…

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