Targeting regulatory T cells to improve vaccine immunogenicity in early life

Jorjoh Ndure, Katie L Flanagan

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50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human newborns and infants are bombarded with multiple pathogens on leaving the sterile intra-uterine environment, and yet have suboptimal innate immunity and limited immunological memory, thus leading to increased susceptibility to infections in early life. They are thus the target age group for a host of vaccines against common bacterial and viral pathogens. They are also the target group for many vaccines in development, including those against tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and HIV infection. However, neonatal and infant responses too many vaccines are suboptimal, and in the case of the polysaccharide vaccines, it has been necessary to develop the alternative conjugated formulations in order to induce immunity in early life. Immunoregulatory factors are an intrinsic component of natural immunity necessary to dampen or control immune responses, with the caveat that they may also decrease immunity to infections or lead to chronic infection. This review explores the key immunoregulatory factors at play in early life, with a particular emphasis on regulatory T cells (Tregs). It goes on to explore the role that Tregs play in limiting vaccine immunogenicity, and describes animal and human studies in which Tregs have been depleted in order to enhance vaccine responses. A deeper understanding of the role that Tregs play in limiting or controlling vaccine-induced immunity would provide strategies to improve vaccine immunogenicity in this critical age group. New adjuvants and drugs are being developed that can transiently suppress Treg function, and their use as part of human vaccination strategies against infections is becoming a real prospect for the future. ? 2014 Ndure and Flanagan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume5
Issue numberArt. No.: 477
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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