Maternal immune factors involved in the prevention or facilitation of neonatal bacterial infections


Newborns, whether born prematurely or at term, have a fully formed but naive immune system that must adapt to the extra-uterine environment to prevent infections. Maternal immunity, transmitted through the placenta and breast milk, protects newborns against infections, primarily via immunoglobulins (IgG and IgA) and certain maternal immune cells also known as microchimeric cells. Recently, it also appeared that the maternal gut microbiota played a vital role in neonatal immune maturation via microbial compounds impacting immune development and the establishment of immune tolerance. In this context, maternal vaccination is a powerful tool to enhance even more maternal and neonatal health. It involves the transfer of vaccine-induced antibodies to protect both mother and child from infectious diseases. In this work we review the state of the art on maternal immune factors involved in the prevention of neonatal bacterial infections, with particular emphasis on the role of maternal vaccination in protecting neonates against bacterial disease.