Long-lasting immunity by early infection of maternal-antibody-protected infants

Eur J Immunol. 2010 Jan;40(1):113-6. doi: 10.1002/eji.200939371.


Newborn higher vertebrates are largely immuno-incompetent and generally survive infections--including poxviruses--by maternal antibody protection. Here, we show that mice survived epidemics as adults only if exposed to lethal orthopoxvirus infections during infancy under the umbrella of maternal protective antibodies. This implies that both the absence of exposure to infection during early infancy or of effective vaccination renders the population highly susceptible to new or old re-emerging pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Ectromelia, Infectious / immunology*
  • Female
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Survival Rate


  • Antibodies, Viral