Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 492761, 7 pages
Review Article

Development of Mucosal Immunity in Children: A Rationale for Sublingual Immunotherapy?

Department of Pediatric Pneumonology, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Szpitalna Street 27/33, 60-572 Poznan, Poland

Received 19 June 2011; Accepted 22 August 2011

Academic Editor: Seval Guneser Kendirli

Copyright © 2012 Aleksandra Szczawinska-Poplonyk. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The mucosal immune system has bidirectional tasks to mount an effective defense against invading harmful pathogens and to suppress the immune response to alimentary antigens and commensal bacterial flora. Oral tolerance is a suppression of the mucosal immune pathway related to a specific immunophenotype of the dendritic cells and an induction of the regulatory T cells as well as with the silencing of the effector T cell response by anergy and deletion. The physiological dynamic process of the anatomical and functional maturation of the immune system occurring in children during pre- and postnatal periods is a significant factor, having an impact on the fine balance between the activation and the suppression of the immune response. In this paper, mechanisms of mucosal immunity and tolerance induction in terms of maturational issues are discussed with a special emphasis on the implications for a novel therapeutic intervention in allergic diseases via the sublingual route.