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Developmental Immunology
Volume 9, Issue 3, Pages 177-179

Exposure to Environmental Antigens Induces the Development of Germinal Centers in Premature Neonates

1Deutsches Rheuma ForschungsZentrum, Schumannstreet 21-22, Berlin 10117, Germany
2Universitäts Klinikum Benjamin, Franklin, Berlin, Germany

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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 immune response of the neonate is poor and is dependent on passive immunity provided by maternal Ig. However, here we show that exposure of the neonate to environmental antigens induces a germinal center (GC) reaction. In the peripheral blood of premature infants one finds IgG class switched B cells expressing a selected V-gene repertoire. These data suggest that restrictions in the repertoire rather than immaturity of the immune system is responsible for the poor immune responses of the neonate.