Seminar with Joanne Lisciandro, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Subiaco, Australia
"Neonatal antigen presenting cell function differs in children born in a developed versus developing community"
A popular explanation for the high burden of allergic and autoimmune diseases in industrialized countries is inappropriate postnatal immune development under western environmental conditions. Recent evidence suggests that this process of immune deviation already begins in utero, but the underlying immunological mechanisms are not clear. Thus, we have been interested in comparing prenatal immune development in children born in developing (Papua New Guinea, PNG) versus developed (Australia, AUS) communities, where there are considerable differences in environment including microbial burden. Our major finding is that neonatal APC of children born in PNG are quiescent in function. This could potentially be an important mechanism of immune regulation to prevent the development of life-threatening inflammation in a setting of frequent immune challenge, but may also protect against the development of allergic and auto-immune diseases.