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Emerg Infect Dis. 2000 Mar-Apr;6(2):123-32.

Vaccines for mucosal immunity to combat emerging infectious diseases.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


The mucosal immune system consists of molecules, cells, and organized lymphoid structures intended to provide immunity to pathogens that impinge upon mucosal surfaces. Mucosal infection by intracellular pathogens results in the induction of cell- mediated immunity, as manifested by CD4-positive (CD4 + ) T helper-type 1 cells, as well as CD8 + cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. These responses are normally accompanied by the synthesis of secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) antibodies, which provide an important first line of defense against invasion of deeper tissues by these pathogens. New-generation live, attenuated viral vaccines, such as the cold-adapted, recombinant nasal influenza and oral rotavirus vaccines, optimize this form of mucosal immune protection. Despite these advances, new and reemerging infectious diseases are tipping the balance in favor of the parasite; continued mucosal vaccine development will be needed to effectively combat these new threats.

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