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Eur J Immunol. 2009 Jan;39(1):26-35. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838391.

Phenotype and function of neonatal DC.

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Institute for Medical Immunology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Charleroi, Belgium.


Newborns face complex physical and immunological changes before and after birth. Although the uterus is a sterile environment for the fetus, it also contains non-self material from the mother. Birth involves the transition from the sterile intra-uterine environment to an environment rich in microbes and requires rapid induction of appropriate responses to control these microbes. In this review we focus on the similarities and differences of human and murine neonatal DC and their reaction to various stimuli. A better understanding of the newborn immune system--in particular, the DC-T-cell interaction--will be beneficial for the development of improved strategies to prevent or treat infections in this vulnerable population and prepare the immune system to cope with allergens and tumors later in life.

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