Research ResourceSYSTEMS IMMUNOLOGY

Immune system development varies according to age, location, and anemia in African children

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Science Translational Medicine  05 Feb 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 529, eaaw9522
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw9522

A global immune landscape

Systems biology approaches to the immune system have revealed specific phenotypes associated with disease or response to vaccination. However, these studies are concentrated in certain areas of the world, and the findings may not apply globally. Hill et al. studied longitudinal blood samples from a large malaria vaccine trial conducted in different African countries. They saw country-specific trajectories of immune development that influenced vaccine responses. Anemic children showed dampened adaptive immune responses. Follow-up experiments with B cells in vitro revealed that iron has direct effects on B cell differentiation. These results show that geographic location has an important influence on immune development.

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