alexa Diversification of Ig heavy chain genes in human preterm neonates prematurely exposed to environmental antigens.
Pediatrics

Pediatrics

Journal of Neonatal Biology

Author(s): Bauer K, Zemlin M, Hummel M, Pfeiffer S, Karstaedt J,

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Abstract Preterm neonates are exposed to extrauterine environmental Ags during the time period that corresponds to the last trimester of normal intrauterine development. To study whether this precocious exposure to Ags accelerates the Ig repertoire diversification, we compared IgH chain genes of preterm neonates (gestational age, 25-29 wk) during their first postnatal months with those of term neonates. Preterm infants approaching their expected date of delivery after 8-13 wk of extrauterine life used a similar V(H), D(H), and J(H) gene segment repertoire as term neonates born after intrauterine development. Furthermore, the length increase of the NDN region between V(H) and J(H) by 0.25 nt per gestational week (r = 0.556, p < 0.0001) was not accelerated. Thus, the generation of the V(H) region gene repertoire is developmentally controlled and independent of environmental influences. However, exposure to extrauterine Ags induced class switch and somatic mutations in IgH chain genes within 2 wk after premature birth and IgG transcript diversity and mutational frequency increased with the duration of extrauterine life. Three-month-old preterm infants expressed a heterogeneous IgG repertoire at their expected date of delivery with V(H) region genes carrying significant numbers of somatic mutations with evidence for Ag selection. Term neonates, however, had no such IgG repertoire. We conclude that restrictions in the neonatal Ig V(H) region gene repertoire persist until term despite exposure to environmental Ags. Yet, many weeks before term the immune system of the preterm neonate can already support germinal center reactions in response to environmental Ags.
This article was published in J Immunol and referenced in Journal of Neonatal Biology

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