Neonatology pp 1575-1605 | Cite as

Fundamentals of Feto-Neonatal Immunology

  • Akhil MaheshwariEmail author
  • Edmund F. La Gamma
Reference work entry


The immune system in the newborn infant is in a unique state of maturational flux that is distinct from all other periods of postnatal life. Faced with a continuous barrage of novel environmental antigens, the neonatal immune system must simultaneously protect the host from potentially harmful pathogens and, at the same time, learn to tolerate commensal microbes and dietary macromolecules and allow absorption and utilization of nutrients. While some components of the immune system perform at par with adults, the immaturity of the other branches results in a physiological, developmentally regulated immunodeficient state. The teleological significance of some of these alterations is still being elucidated. This chapter highlights the most prominent quantitative and qualitative differences in the innate and adaptive arms of the neonatal and adult immune systems and provides a brief overview of the developing mucosal immune system.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of NeonatologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Newborn MedicineMaria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Westchester Medical Center – New York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA

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