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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2004 Aug;36(8):1380-5.

Measles: immune suppression and immune responses.

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W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD, USA.


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that remains the leading vaccine-preventable cause of child mortality worldwide. Deaths from measles are due largely to an increased susceptibility to secondary bacterial and viral infections, attributed to a prolonged state of immune suppression. Several abnormalities of the immune system have been described, including changes in lymphocyte number and function, shifts in cytokine responses, immunomodulatory effects of interleukin-10, down regulation of interleukin-12, impaired antigen presentation, and altered interferon alpha/beta signaling pathways. Although the current vaccine is very effective, knowledge of the molecular basis of the immune responses to measles virus could contribute to the development of a safer, more immunogenic measles vaccine. However, the safety of new measles vaccines must be carefully investigated, as two measles vaccines have resulted in unintended immunologic consequences: atypical measles following administration of the formalin-inactivated measles vaccine and increased mortality in girls following administration of high-titer measles vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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