Immunity is not static but varies with age. The immune system of a newborn infant is not “defective” or “immature.” Rather, there are distinct features of innate and adaptive immunity from fetal life to adulthood, which may alter the susceptibility of newborn infants to infections compared to adults. Increased protection to certain infectious diseases during early life may benefit from a dampened immune response as a result of decreased immune pathology. This concept may offer an alternative interpretation of the different pathological manifestations clinically observed in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected patients during the natural history of infection. Herein, we review the immune pathological features of HBV infection from early life to adulthood and challenge the concept of a generic immune tolerant state in young people. We then discuss how the different clinical and virological manifestations during HBV infection may be related to the differential antiviral immunity and pro-inflammatory capacity generated at different ages. Lastly, we address the potential to consider earlier therapeutic intervention in HBV-infected young patients to achieve effective immune control leading to better outcomes.
Seminars in Immunopathology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 6, 2017
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