such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
When infected, the body has two types of immune defence to deploy –
innate immunity and acquired immunity. In her dissertation, Shanie
Saghafian Hedengren studies monocytes, a type of white blood corpuscles
that are part of the innate immune system.
“Innate immunity plays a crucial role at the beginning of life as
protection against bacteria and other microbes, since the acquired
immune system is not fully developed at that stage. What’s more,
acquired immunity and its memory are formed by ‘communication molecules’
that are initially transmitted by monocytes, among other sources.
Imbalance in the monocyte function, as a result of less stimulation by
microbes and viruses early in life, may therefore play an important role
in the development of allergies,” maintains Shanie Saghafian Hedengren.
In this dissertation, a group of children is followed from birth to
the age of five years. It shows the correlation between Epstein-Barr
virus (EBV) contraction before the age of two and a lower risk of
producing antibodies against allergens, so-called allergic
sensitization. It is also of interest that EBV infection after the age
of two was correlated with a greater risk of sensitization in
EBV is a common herpesvirus that the majority of the world’s
population carry throughout their lives. It is a highly successful virus
that is normally spread via saliva and infects people early in life.
Most people hardly notice when their children become infected.
“Contracting EBV later in life can lead to glandular fever, and apace
with greater affluence, increased numbers of glandular fever cases have
been reported. Perhaps from an evolutionary perspective it is more
advantageous for both the virus and its host to meet earlier in life,”
says Shanie Saghafian Hedengren.
The dissertation shows that the innate immunity in EBV-infected
children also reacts in a mitigated way, which may explain why early
infection normally produces no symptoms. These findings contradict the
accepted view that what we might expect in this group with a lower risk
for sensitization. Further, Shanie Saghafian Hedengren shows that
newborn children have weaker monocyte responses to microbes up to the
age of two if they have an allergic mother.
“Nevertheless, these high-risk children need adequate immune
stimulation early in life in order to reduce the risk of allergies. In
other words, lots of love for the youngest babies in the form of many
and sloppy kisses,” concludes Shanie Saghafian Hedengren.
Dissertation title: Microbial and maternal influences on allergic
sensitization during childhood: defining a role for monocytes.
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