Intrinsic defect of the immune system in children with Down syndrome: a review

Clin Exp Immunol. 2009 May;156(2):189-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2009.03890.x. Epub 2009 Jan 22.


Down syndrome (DS) is the most frequent cause of mental retardation in man. Immunological changes in DS have been observed since the 1970s. The neurological system appears to be ageing precociously, with early occurrence of Alzheimer disease; until now, the observed immunological differences have been interpreted in the same context. Looking back at past and present results of immunological studies in DS children in relation to the clinical consequences they suffer, we conclude that it is more likely that the DS immune system is intrinsically deficient from the very beginning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging, Premature / immunology*
  • Antibody Formation
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Down Syndrome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Thymus Gland / physiology