Comparison of Immunological Status of African and European Cord Blood Mononuclear Cells

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Abstract

ABSTRACT:

The cellular aspects of the immunologic development of the fetus during pregnancy have been studied mainly in populations living in economically well developed countries, and there is no data concerning variation of the neonatal cellular immune system in geographically distinct areas with different environments. Here, we report a comparative immunologic marker analysis of the circulating mononuclear cell subsets in unstimulated cord blood of newborns from Gabon and Austria, assessing the activation and maturation status of T and B lymphocytes as well as antigen-presenting cells. Cells and markers hypothesized to be modulated by frequent exposure to microorganisms and parasites such as regulatory T cells and the expression of toll-like receptor 2 on antigen-presenting cells were also studied. We found marked differences in terms of expression of immunologic markers between the two populations, pointing to a comparatively enhanced maturation status of the neonatal immune system in general in the African setting. The observations suggest that environmental factors, including differential exposure to pathogens as well as nutritional differences, may have substantial impact on the development of the fetal immune system.

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