The developing immune system - from foetus to toddler

Acta Paediatr. 2012 Feb;101(2):120-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02494.x. Epub 2011 Nov 10.


During foetal development, neonatal period and childhood, the immune system is constantly maturing. In the foetus, infection responsiveness is low and associates with spontaneous abortion. During the neonatal period, the infection response shifts towards a more pro-inflammatory response. The immune system of the newborn acquires adaptive features as a result of exposure to microbes.

Conclusion: The development of the human immune system is a continuous process where both accelerated and retarded development is deleterious.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / immunology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fetus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / growth & development*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / immunology