Neonates have age-specific quantitative and qualitative impairments in neutrophil function that are more pronounced in newborns delivered prematurely. The diminished capacity of neonatal neutrophils to respond to stimulation and their intrinsic longevity may be characteristics that provide a host defense and survival advantage. However, neutrophil dysfunction is one aspect of innate immunity that places the newborn population at risk for the morbidity and mortality associated with invasive bacterial and fungal infections and increases their propensity to develop chronic inflammatory disorders. Studies to define the mechanisms underlying neonatal neutrophil dysfunction may prove useful in dissecting the regulatory pathways used by neutrophils in general. Such information will be critical to the development of targeted therapies for the management of infections and chronic inflammatory disorders in all age groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology