About this Research Topic
Various aspects of host immunity are particular at the beginning of life, thus distinguishing neonates from infants from older children and adults. Preterm babies show an enhanced generation of Th17 cells, whereas mature born neonates show a spontaneous Th2 response unless inflammatory triggers occur. Moreover, young infants show reduced Ca-flux and IL-2 production upon polyclonal T-cell stimulation. In infants, the B-cell repertoire is not fully developed until 3-5 months of age and the microflora is usually established within 3 years. The introduction of new technologies for sophisticated experimental set-ups as well as state-of-the-art sequencing technologies, multi-omics platforms, and systems biology allows for an unprecedented understanding of risk-associated and interlinked patterns of early life immunity, which should improve patient care and facilitate precision health.
Characteristics of early life immunity have a bias for inducing immune tolerance and an increased risk for sustained inflammation, but the molecular and cellular mechanisms, as well as its consequences, are by far not understood. Also, knowledge of discrimination of features that are purely developmentally driven and others that are mediated by environmental triggers are missing. A growing body of evidence suggests that innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in early life and their epigenetic and microenvironmental regulation contribute to long-term health, e.g. in non-communicable diseases like asthma, allergy, and autoimmunity. However, knowledge about the molecular and cellular mechanisms of these diseases is pending.
This Research Topic will provide novel insights into homeostasis and dysregulation of early life immunity. In particular, unique features of memory formation, as well as its adaptation under the influence of genetic and environmental cues, will be discussed. This may be of particular importance for immunological modifications for the prevention of non-communicable diseases.
We welcome the submission of Review, Original Research, and Commentary articles covering, but not limited to, the following sub-topics:
1. Unique features of memory formation and generation of germinal centers;
2. Development of immune cell subsets and their unique role at the transition from intra- to extrauterine life, during the neonatal period, and infancy;
3. Immunological modifications for the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as asthma, allergy, and autoimmune diseases;
4. Development of novel animal models and human in vitro models to study the specificities of mucosal and T cell immunology in a developmental context.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.