Stereotypic Immune System Development in Newborn Children

Cell. 2018 Aug 23;174(5):1277-1292.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.06.045.


Epidemiological data suggest that early life exposures are key determinants of immune-mediated disease later in life. Young children are also particularly susceptible to infections, warranting more analyses of immune system development early in life. Such analyses mostly have been performed in mouse models or human cord blood samples, but these cannot account for the complex environmental exposures influencing human newborns after birth. Here, we performed longitudinal analyses in 100 newborn children, sampled up to 4 times during their first 3 months of life. From 100 μL of blood, we analyze the development of 58 immune cell populations by mass cytometry and 267 plasma proteins by immunoassays, uncovering drastic changes not predictable from cord blood measurements but following a stereotypic pattern. Preterm and term children differ at birth but converge onto a shared trajectory, seemingly driven by microbial interactions and hampered by early gut bacterial dysbiosis.

Keywords: CyTOF; human immunology; immune system development; immune variation; mass cytometry; neonate; neonatology; newborn immune systems; preterm birth; systems immunology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Lineage
  • Dysbiosis
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Immunoassay
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / immunology*
  • Inflammation*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Phenotype
  • Premature Birth / immunology
  • Transcriptome