An evaluation of the neonatal immune system using a Listeria infection model

Hyun Jung Byun, Woon Won Jung, Jong Bae Lee, Hee Yong Chung, Donggeun Sul, Sang Joon Kim, Chung Gyu Park, Inho Choi, Kwang Woo Hwang, Taehoon Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: T helper 1 (Th1)/T helper 2 (Th2)-biased cytokine regulation may be another reason that neonates are much more susceptible to infectious disease than are adults. Objectives: We attempted to determine the ability of neonatal mice to direct the Th1 phenotype against Listeria monocytogenes (LM), because LM, an intracellular Gram-positive bacterium, induces profound cellular immunity by Th1 cells in vivo. Methods: In order to determine whether neonatal mice evidence strong Th1 activity during LM infection, neonatal mice were compared with adult mice with regard to susceptibility to LM, cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity, and cytokine profiles. Neonatal gene profiles relevant to Th1 and Th2 differentiation during LM infection were also compared between neonatal and adult mice, via real-time PCR and RT-PCR. Results: Neonatal mice were found to be far more susceptible to LM infection than adult mice, due to a lack in the induction of cytotoxic T cell activity, coupled with poor IFN-γ secretion. Further, LM-infected neonatal mice evidenced much lower levels of expression of Th1-type immune components, including IL-12, IFN-γ, Delta-4 and T-bet, as compared to those features in adult mice. These results may be due to the comparably lower expressions of mannose-bind lectins and some of toll-like receptors (TLRs) such as TLR-5, -6 and -9, necessary mediators to develop Th1 immune responses. Conclusions: Neonatal mice may not mount an adequate Th1 type immune response due to a significantly lower expression of Th1-type immune components as compared to adult mice, even when forced into a Th1-prone environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug


  • Listeria infection
  • Neonate
  • T helper 1 and T helper 2 imbalance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Biology


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