Mechanisms by which maternal antibodies influence infant vaccine responses: review of hypotheses and definition of main determinants

Vaccine. 2003 Jul 28;21(24):3406-12. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(03)00342-6.


Several mechanisms have been suggested as mediating the inhibitory influence of maternal antibodies (MatAb) on infant responses. This inhibition is B cell determinant-specific, depends on the ratio between MatAb titers at the time of immunization and the dose of vaccine antigen, and leaves infant T cell responses largely unaffected. Neutralization of vaccine replication or FcgammaRIIB-mediated inhibitory signalling to infant B cells would not account for these characteristics. In contrast, determinant-specific masking of B cell epitopes and APC uptake of MatAb:vaccine antigen immune complexes, followed by antigen processing and presentation, explain the pattern of pre-clinical and clinical responses to infant vaccines. This allows the definition of the main determinants of the influence of MatAb on infant immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Antibodies / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Vaccines / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Vaccines
  • Viral Vaccines