However, taken together with the finding (reported elsewhere ) that anthelminthics during pregnancy had little effect NVP-BGJ398 cell line on infant responses to cCFP and TT in this study, these results suggest that maternal helminth infection may not be the major explanation for the poor efficacy of BCG immunisation in the tropics. Subsequent acquisition of helminths by the infant may
be a different story . Tetanus immunisation during pregnancy was associated with enhanced IFN-γ, IL-13 and (to some extent) IL-5 responses following tetanus immunisation of the offspring. These results accord with the earlier report of Gill and colleagues  and show that priming of the infant response to TT can be influenced by immunisation of the mother. This antigen-specific
effect may result from transfer of TT across the placenta within an immune complex, utilising the immunoglobulin receptor systems involved in transfer of Epigenetic inhibitor supplier maternal antibody to the fetus ,  and . Fetal exposure to antigen can result in tolerisation, but immune complexes are potent activators of the immune system, and this may explain why priming occurred in this case. The lower response to tetanus immunisation in HIV-exposed-uninfected infants may have resulted from reduced transfer of maternal antibody and antigen in this group  and . By contrast, Libraries presence of a maternal BCG scar showed a negative association with infant type 2 cytokine response, and (to some extent) IFN-γ response to cCFP following BCG immunisation. This may have been a non-specific effect since maternal BCG scar was also associated with reductions in these cytokine responses to PHA (data not shown). The association was not explained until by adjusting for potential confounding factors, and suggests an immunological interaction between
mother and infant related to maternal mycobacterial exposure or infection. There is evidence for sensitisation to mycobacterial antigens in utero in mouse models and in humans  and , but tolerisation is also a possibility, and would accord with the lower response to mycobacterial antigen observed in Malawian, compared to British, infants following BCG immunisation . It may be important to investigate the role of maternal mycobacterial infection, and maternal immune responses to mycobacteria, in the infant response to BCG. Current infant malaria and infant HIV infection were associated with broad reductions in IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-13 responses. These findings were in keeping with the recognised immunosuppressive effects of these pathogens and thus, incidentally, demonstrate the ability of this immuno-epidemiological approach to detect important effects. They contrast with the IL-10-restricted effects of maternal M. perstans.