Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Immunological Links to Nonspecific Effects of DTwP and BCG Vaccines on Infant Mortality.

Abstract Source:

J Trop Med. 2011 ;2011:706304. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21760811

Abstract Author(s):

Mogens Helweg Claesson

Article Affiliation:

Laboratory for Experimental and Cellular Immunology, Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.


A number of mainly observational studies suggest that many African females below the age of one year die each year from the nonspecific effects of vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus toxoids and killed (whole-cell) Bordetella pertussis (DTwP). In contrast, similar studies suggest that many African females and males may have their lives saved each year by the nonspecific immunological benefits of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination. From an immunological point of view, we hypothesise that the adverse effects of DTwP vaccine may occur because of the Th2-polarising effect of the aluminium phosphate adjuvant in the vaccine and because intramuscular administration of the vaccine may cause chronic inflammation at the site of injection. However, the Th1-polarising effect of BCG is likely to be beneficial. Sexual dimorphism affecting immune functions and vitamin A supplementation may influence both the deleterious and beneficial nonspecific effects of immunisation.

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