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Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2008 Aug;45(4):219-28.

Natural immunity to rotavirus infection in children.

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  • 1Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India.


Annual deaths in infants and young children due to rotavirus (RV) infection are around 100,000 in India and about 600,000 globally. Development of a vaccine for this disease is a high priority. The protective mechanisms for RV diarrhea in human are not fully understood, but it is known that children develop natural immunity against RV. Early exposure to RV results in most severe episode of diarrhea and subsequent infections are milder or asymptomatic. Of the immune responses measured during natural infection, RV-specific antibodies have been well documented, whereas data on cellular immunity in humans are sparse. It is generally thought that two outer capsid proteins VP4 and VP7 play a critical role in protective immunity by stimulating production of neutralizing antibodies. While serotype- specific protection mediated by antibodies directed against the outer capsid proteins may be a mechanism of protection, such a correlate for protection has been difficult to demonstrate in humans during clinical trials. Increasing evidences suggest that viral proteins that lack a capacity of eliciting neutralizing antibody response also induce protective immunity. Limited efforts have focused on the role of non-structural proteins in protective immunity. This review describes current understanding of antibody responses in children with focus on responses specific to viral antigens with their possible role in protective immunity. We have also briefly reviewed the responses elicited to non-antibody effectors during RV infection in human subjects.

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