Differences in multiple immune parameters between Indian and U.S. infants

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 16;13(11):e0207297. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207297. eCollection 2018.


To compare immune phenotypes across two geographic and ethnic communities, we examined umbilical cord blood by flow cytometry and Luminex in parallel cohorts of 53 newborns from New Delhi, India, and 46 newborns from Stanford, California. We found that frequencies of a B cell subset suggested to be B-1-like, and serum IgM concentration were both significantly higher in the Stanford cohort, independent of differences in maternal age. While serum IgA levels were also significantly higher in the Stanford cohort, IgG1, IgG2, and IgG4 were significantly higher in the New Delhi samples. We found that neutrophils, plasmacytoid dendritic cells, CD8+ T cells, and total T cells were higher in the U.S. cohort, while dendritic cells, patrolling monocytes (CD14dimCD16+), natural killer cells, CD4+ T cells, and naïve B cells were higher in the India cohort. Within the India cohort, we also identified cell types whose frequency was positively or negatively predictive of occurrence of infection(s) in the first six months of life. Monocytes, total T cells, and memory CD4+ T cells were most prominent in having an inverse relationship with infection. We suggest that these data provide impetus for follow-up studies linking phenotypic differences to environmental versus genetic factors, and to infection outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • India
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology*


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G

Grant support

This work was supported by a U.S.-India Bilateral Collaborative Research Grant on Human Immune Phenotyping and Infectious Disease (grant #6310800) from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.