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Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Mar;9(3):185-94. doi: 10.1038/nri2508.

B-cell responses to vaccination at the extremes of age.

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Departments of Pathology-Immunology and Pediatrics, WHO Collaborative Center for Neonatal Vaccinology, Medical Faculty of University of Geneva, Centre Medical Universitaire, Geneva 4, Switzerland.


Infants and the elderly share a high vulnerability to infections and therefore have specific immunization requirements. Inducing potent and sustained B-cell responses is as challenging in infants as it is in older subjects. Several mechanisms to explain the decreased B-cell responses at the extremes of age apply to both infants and the elderly. These include intrinsic B-cell limitations as well as numerous microenvironmental factors in lymphoid organs and the bone marrow. This Review describes the mechanisms that shape B-cell responses at the extremes of age and how they could be taken into account to design more effective immunization strategies for these high-risk age groups.

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