First immuno response

Danh Tran-Thanh dtran- at PO-Box.McGill.CA
Sun May 10 23:45:48 EST 1998

>   Trond Erik <teva at online.no> writes:

>  One more associated question:
>  Do newborn babies have premade antibodies? Perhaps from the mother? Or do they
>  have to secrete it all as a response of infection?
>  I guess premade antibodies obtained through the placenta would be a nice gift.
>  Regards
>  Trond Erik Vee Aune

Yes, babies, especially newborns, do get antibodies from their mothers.  
These are usually the IgG isotype, which can cross the placenta to reach the babie's circulation.  These antibodies have a half life of 
approx. 1 1/2 months.  This is why it is not recommended to vaccinate newborns at such a young age as the maternal antibodies will 
simply agglutinate all the injected antigen and prevent the babie's own immune system to pick it up, and thus mount a protective 
reponses against it.

In addition, mothers also provide their babies with IgA via breastmilk.  These are quite useful for protection against of their GI tract 
against ingested pathogens.

At around 6 months or later, babies can start producing antibodies of their own.


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