Ontogeny of early life immunity

Trends Immunol. 2014 Jul;35(7):299-310. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2014.04.007. Epub 2014 May 28.


The human immune system comprises cellular and molecular components designed to coordinately prevent infection while avoiding potentially harmful inflammation and autoimmunity. Immunity varies with age, reflecting unique age-dependent challenges including fetal gestation, the neonatal phase, and infancy. Here, we review novel mechanistic insights into early life immunity, with an emphasis on emerging models of human immune ontogeny, which may inform age-specific translational development of novel anti-infectives, immunomodulators, and vaccines.

Keywords: Toll-like receptor; dendritic cell; immune ontogeny; newborn infant; vaccines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immune System / embryology*
  • Immune System / growth & development
  • Immunity
  • Immunomodulation
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Infections / therapy
  • Vaccines


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Vaccines