Maternal immune protection against infectious diseases.
The maternal immune system protects developing offspring against pathogens before birth via transplacental transfer and after birth through secreted milk. This transferred maternal immunity influences each generation's susceptibility to infections and responsiveness to immunization. Thus, boosting immunity in the maternal-neonatal dyad is a potentially valuable public health strategy. Additionally, at critical times during fetal and postnatal development, environmental factors and immune stimuli influence immune development. These "windows of opportunity" offer a chance to identify both risk and protective factors that promote long-term health and limit disease. Here, we review pre- and postpartum maternal immune factors that protect against infectious agents in offspring and how they may shape the infant's immune landscape over time. Additionally, we discuss the influence of maternal immunity on the responsiveness to immunization in early life. Lastly, when maternal factors are insufficient to prevent neonatal infectious diseases, we discuss pre- and postnatal therapeutic strategies for the maternal-neonatal dyad.
Langel, SN; Blasi, M; Permar, SR
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