Innate immune memory: implications for development of pediatric immunomodulatory agents and adjuvanted vaccines

Pediatr Res. 2014 Jan;75(1-2):184-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2013.214. Epub 2013 Nov 6.


Unique features of immunity early in life include a distinct immune system particularly reliant on innate immunity, with weak T helper (Th)1-polarizing immune responses, and impaired responses to certain vaccines leading to a heightened susceptibility to infection. To these important aspects, we now add an increasingly appreciated concept that the innate immune system displays epigenetic memory of an earlier infection or vaccination, a phenomenon that has been named "trained immunity." Exposure of neonatal leukocytes in vitro or neonatal animals or humans in vivo to specific innate immune stimuli results in an altered innate immune set point. Given the particular importance of innate immunity early in life, trained immunity to early life infection and/or immunization may play an important role in modulating both acute and chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Communicable Diseases / genetics
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Drug Design*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunologic Memory / drug effects*
  • Immunologic Memory / genetics
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Vaccines