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Cell Host Microbe. 2012 Oct 18;12(4):458-69. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2012.10.001.

Chronic bystander infections and immunity to unrelated antigens.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Chronic infections with persistent pathogens such as helminths, mycobacteria, Plasmodium, and hepatitis viruses affect more than a third of the human population and are associated with increased susceptibility to other pathogens as well as reduced vaccine efficacy. Although these observations suggest an impact of chronic infections in modulating immunity to unrelated antigens, little is known regarding the underlying mechanisms. Here, we summarize evidence of the most prevalent infections affecting immunity to unrelated pathogens and vaccines, and discuss potential mechanisms of how different bystander chronic infections might impact immune responses. We suggest that bystander chronic infections affect different stages of host responses and may impact transmission and recognition of other pathogens, innate immune responses, priming and differentiation of adaptive effector responses, as well as the development and maintenance of immunological memory. Further understanding of the immunological effects of coinfection should provide opportunities to enhance vaccine efficacy and control of infectious diseases.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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