B-cell responses to vaccination at the extremes of age

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


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mice
  • Vaccination*
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Vaccines