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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44763. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044763. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Ontogeny of Toll-like receptor mediated cytokine responses of South African infants throughout the first year of life.

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Division of Infectious and Immunological Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Centre for Understanding and Preventing Infections in Children, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada.


The first year of life represents a time of marked susceptibility to infections; this is particularly true for regions in sub-Saharan Africa. As innate immunity directs the adaptive immune response, the observed increased risk for infection as well as a suboptimal response to vaccination in early life may be due to less effective innate immune function. In this study, we followed a longitudinal cohort of infants born and raised in South Africa over the first year of life, employing the most comprehensive analysis of innate immune response to stimulation published to date. Our findings reveal rapid changes in innate immune development over the first year of life. This is the first report depicting dramatic differences in innate immune ontogeny between different populations in the world, with important implications for global vaccination strategies.

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