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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2015 Jan;109(1):62-9. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/tru198.

Vaccination and heterologous immunity: educating the immune system.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.
2
Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA liisa.selin@umassmed.edu.

Abstract

This review discusses three inter-related topics: (1) the immaturity of the neonatal and infant immune response; (2) heterologous immunity, where prior infection history with unrelated pathogens alters disease outcome resulting in either enhanced protective immunity or increased immunopathology to new infections, and (3) epidemiological human vaccine studies that demonstrate vaccines can have beneficial or detrimental effects on subsequent unrelated infections. The results from the epidemiological and heterologous immunity studies suggest that the immune system has tremendous plasticity and that each new infection or vaccine that an individual is exposed to during a lifetime will potentially alter the dynamics of their immune system. It also suggests that each new infection or vaccine that an infant receives is not only perturbing the immune system but is educating the immune system and laying down the foundation for all subsequent responses. This leads to the question, is there an optimum way to educate the immune system? Should this be taken into consideration in our vaccination protocols?

KEYWORDS:

Crossreactive; Heterologous immunity; Neonatal; T cells; Vaccines

PMID:
25573110
PMCID:
PMC4351360
DOI:
10.1093/trstmh/tru198
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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