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Perinatal nutrition and immunity to infection

Authors

  • Kelsey D. J. Jones,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
    2. Centre for Respiratory Infection, Imperial College, London, UK
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  • James A. Berkley,

    1. Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Centre for Geographic Medicine Research (Coast), Kilifi, Kenya
    2. Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
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  • John O. Warner

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
    2. Centre for Respiratory Infection, Imperial College, London, UK
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Dr Kelsey Jones, Imperial College (St Mary’s Campus), Wright-Fleming Institute, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK
Tel.: +44 0 7779 142231
Fax: +44 2 0759 43984
E-mail: kelsey.jones@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

Jones KDJ, Berkley JA, Warner JO. Perinatal nutrition and immunity to infection.
Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 564–576.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Epidemiological data provide strong evidence for a relationship between undernutrition and life-threatening infection in infants and children. However, the mechanisms that underlie this relationship are poorly understood. Through foetal life, infancy and childhood, the immune system undergoes a process of functional maturation. The adequacy of this process is dependent on environmental factors, and there is accumulating evidence of the impact of pre- and post-natal nutrition in this regard. This review outlines the impact of nutrition during foetal and infant development on the capacity to mount immune responses to infection. It provides an overview of the epidemiologic evidence for such a role and discusses the possible mechanisms involved.

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