Research on young mice showed that their immune system responds to infection with more speed and strength, but does not create protection. Immunity against most microbes depends on forming T-memory cells that remember specific pathogens and can respond quickly to future infections. Adult body generates a large amount of effective T cell memory during infection.
Immunologist Brian Rudd at the College of veterinary medicine found that newborn T cells generated in response to infection in mice responded more rapidly to infection than adults, but does not "remember" them. This refutes the General theory that newborn immune cells are weak or suboptimal response to infection.
"Surprisingly, we found that newborn cells actually responded more vigorously to infection compared to adults," said Rudd. "We also found that newborn cells have a short life span and die early, before they can lead to memory T cells and remember what they learned. Thus, the immune system is forced to start the learning process over again when infected by the same pathogen later." Immunologist added: "We hope to find a way to make neonatal cells behave like adults in how they learn from vaccines and respond to infection. The knowledge gained from these studies can be used to develop more effective therapeutic interventions and vaccines that can be safely administered at the beginning of life."