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Activation of lymphocytes in healthy neonates within hours of birth.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number883933
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Published31 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: GA is supported by Action Medical Research grant held by DG (GN2790); SG is supported by a MRC-KCL Doctoral Training Partnership in Biomedical Sciences (MR/N013700/1), RT by Tommy’s (Charity No. 1060508) and Borne (1167073). The research was also supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) and King’s College London (KCL) (part of the King’s Health Partners Academic Sciences Centre). Funding Information: The authors declare that this study received funding from Evolve Biosystems (RT and DG). The funder had the following involvement with the study: neonatal cord blood and heel prick blood collection. Publisher Copyright: Copyright © 2022 Ariyakumar, Gee, Das, Kamdar, Tribe and Gibbons.


  • FI paper 2022

    G_paper_2022.pdf, 6.69 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:02 Aug 2022

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


It is now established that immune maturation occurs along a defined trajectory in the weeks and months after birth, but the immediate changes that occur within immune cells following birth is less clear. In this study, we monitored the immune profile of neonates via analysis of paired samples (n= 28) of cord blood and heel prick blood taken at varying times post term delivery by planned elective caesarean section. This paired approach accounted for the between-subject variability often observed over the first week of life. We identified rapid changes in immune cell populations within hours of birth. Specifically, we observed increased proliferation in effector T cells (but not regulatory T cells) that exhibited an increase in cytokine producing ability and also an increase in the percentage of CD3 T cells over this short time frame. This indicates that the mobilisation of the immune system is immediate post birth, presumably as a response to sudden exposure to the external environment, antigen or stress. Hence, immune development may start to occur more rapidly than previously proposed and as such, to study this trajectory, blood sampling should begin as soon after birth as possible.

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