Development of natural immunity to Neisseria meningitidis

Vaccine. 2001 Jan 8;19(11-12):1327-46. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00333-9.


Although meningococcal disease is rare in industrialized nations, Neisseria meningitidis holds a prominent position amongst pediatric infections because of the dramatic clinical presentation of the disease, high mortality, epidemic potential and the recent disappearance of many other important infectious diseases in developed countries through improvements in public health and vaccination. The precise nature of natural immunity to meningococci remains unknown, although a complex interaction between the organism and nasopharyngeal mucosal barrier, innate immune mechanisms and acquired immunity is involved. Study of the mechanisms of natural immunity may provide the key to development of vaccines that can reduce the burden of disease in early childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complement Activation
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Infant
  • Meningococcal Infections / immunology
  • Meningococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / isolation & purification
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / pharmacology
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / classification
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology
  • Serotyping


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Meningococcal Vaccines
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial