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1.  Lung Dendritic Cell Developmental Programming, Environmental Stimuli, and Asthma in Early Periods of Life 
Journal of Allergy  2012;2012:176468.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are important cells of our innate immune system. Their role is critical in inducing adaptive immunity, tolerance, or allergic response in peripheral organs—lung and skin. The lung DCs are not developed prenatally before birth. The DCs develop after birth presumably during the first year of life; exposures to any foreign antigen or infectious organisms during this period can significantly affect DC developmental programming and generation of distinct DC phenotypes and functions. These changes can have both short-term and long-term health effects which may be very relevant in childhood asthma and predisposition for a persistent response in adulthood. An understanding of DC development at molecular and cellular levels can help in protecting neonates and infants against problematic environmental exposures and developmental immunotoxicity. This knowledge can eventually help in designing novel pharmacological modulators to skew the DC characteristics and immune responses to benefit the host across a lifetime.
PMCID: PMC3503332  PMID: 23209481
2.  Immunogenicity of Trivalent Influenza Vaccine in Extremely-Low-Birth-Weight, Premature versus Term Infants 
Influenza vaccine immunogenicity in premature infants is incompletely characterized.
To assess the immunogenicity of trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) in extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW, ≤1000 grams birth weight), premature (<30 weeks gestation) infants. We hypothesized that geometric mean titers (GMT) of influenza antibody would be lower in premature than in full-term (≥37 week) infants.
In this prospective, multicenter study, former premature and full-term infants ages, 6–17 months, received 2 doses of TIV during the 2006–7 or 2007–8 influenza seasons. Sera were drawn before dose 1 and 4–6 weeks after dose 2. Antibody was measured by hemagglutination inhibition.
Over two years, 41 premature and 42 full-term infants were enrolled; 36 and 33 of these infants, respectively, had post-vaccination titers available. Premature infants weighed less (mean 1.3 – 1.8 kg difference) at the time of immunization than full-term infants. Pre-vaccination titers did not differ between groups. Premature infants had higher post-vaccination antibody GMT than full-term infants to H1 (2006–7, 1:513 v. 1:91, P=0.03; 2007–8, 1:363 v. 1:189, P=0.02) and B/Victoria (2006–7, 1:51 v. 1:10, P=0.02). More premature than full-term infants had antibody titers ≥ 1:32 to B/Victoria (85% v. 60%, p=0.04) in 2007–8. Two (5%) premature and 8 (19%) full-term infants had adverse events, primarily fever, within 72 hours after vaccination. No child had medically-diagnosed influenza.
Former premature infants had antibody responses to two TIV doses greater than or equal to those of full-term children. Two TIV doses are immunogenic and well tolerated in ELBW, premature infants 6–17 months old.
PMCID: PMC3090695  PMID: 21273938
Premature infant; very low birth weight infant; influenza vaccines; immunization; vaccines
3.  Does the viral subtype influence the biennial cycle of respiratory syncytial virus? 
Virology Journal  2009;6:133.
The epidemic pattern of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is quite different in regions of Europe (biennial epidemics in alternating cycles of approximately 9 and 15 months) than in the Western Hemisphere (annual epidemics). In order to determine if these differences are accounted for by the circulation of different RSV subtypes, we studied the prevalence of RSV subtype A and B strains in Zagreb County from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2007.
RSV was identified in the nasopharyngeal secretions of 368 inpatients using direct fluorescence assays and/or by virus isolation in cell culture. The subtype of recovered strains was determined by real-time PCR. Of 368 RSV infections identified in children during this interval, subtype A virus caused 94 infections, and subtype B 270. Four patients had a dual RSV infection (subtypes A and B).
The period of study was characterized by two epidemic waves of RSV infections-one, smaller, in the spring of 2006 (peaking in March), the second, larger, in December 2006/January 2007 (peaking in January). The predominant subtype in both outbreaks was RSV subtype B. Not until November 2007 did RSV subtype A predominate, while initiating a new outbreak continuing into the following calendar year.
Though only two calendar years were monitored, we believe that the biennial RSV cycle in Croatia occurs independently of the dominant viral subtype.
PMCID: PMC2742548  PMID: 19735540
4.  The biennial cycle of respiratory syncytial virus outbreaks in Croatia 
Virology Journal  2008;5:18.
The paper analyses the epidemic pattern of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreaks in children in Croatia. Over a period of 11 consecutive winter seasons (1994–2005) 3,435 inpatients from Zagreb County aged from infancy to 10 years who were hospitalised with acute respiratory tract infections were tested for RSV-infection. RSV was identified in nasopharyngeal secretions of patients by virus isolation in cell culture and by detection of viral antigen with monoclonal antibodies.
In the Zagreb area, RSV outbreaks were proven to vary in a two-year cycle, which was repeated every 23–25 months. This biennial cycle comprised one larger and one smaller season. Climate factors correlated significantly with the number of RSV cases identified only in the large seasons, which suggests that the biennial cycle is likely to continue regardless of meteorological conditions. Knowledge of this biennial pattern should be useful in predicting the onset of RSV outbreaks in Croatia, and would facilitate planning for the prevention and control of RSV infections in the region.
PMCID: PMC2267449  PMID: 18226194
6.  Vaccination Strategies for Mucosal Immune Responses 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2001;14(2):430-445.
Mucosal administration of vaccines is an important approach to the induction of appropriate immune responses to microbial and other environmental antigens in systemic sites and peripheral blood as well as in most external mucosal surfaces. The development of specific antibody- or T-cell-mediated immunologic responses and the induction of mucosally induced systemic immunologic hyporesponsiveness (oral or mucosal tolerance) depend on complex sets of immunologic events, including the nature of the antigenic stimulation of specialized lymphoid structures in the host, antigen-induced activation of different populations of regulatory T cells (Th1 versus Th2), and the expression of proinflammatory and immunoregulatory cytokines. Availability of mucosal vaccines will provide a painless approach to deliver large numbers of vaccine antigens for human immunization. Currently, an average infant will receive 20 to 25 percutaneous injections for vaccination against different childhood infections by 18 months of age. It should be possible to develop for human use effective, nonliving, recombinant, replicating, transgenic, and microbial vector- or plant-based mucosal vaccines to prevent infections. Based on the experience with many dietary antigens, it is also possible to manipulate the mucosal immune system to induce systemic tolerance against environmental, dietary, and possibly other autoantigens associated with allergic and autoimmune disorders. Mucosal immunity offers new strategies to induce protective immune responses against a variety of infectious agents. Such immunization may also provide new prophylactic or therapeutic avenues in the control of autoimmune diseases in humans.
PMCID: PMC88982  PMID: 11292646
7.  Safety and Pharmacokinetics of an Intramuscular Monoclonal Antibody (SB 209763) against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Infants and Young Children at Risk for Severe RSV Disease 
We conducted a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of a humanized monoclonal antibody against a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) fusion protein (SB 209763) to evaluate its safety, pharmacokinetics, and fusion inhibition and neutralization titers. Forty-three infants who were either delivered prematurely (≤35 weeks’ gestation) or exhibited bronchopulmonary dysplasia were administered either single or repeat (two doses, 8 weeks apart) intramuscular injections of SB 209763 at a concentration of 0.25, 1.25, 5.0, or 10.0 mg/kg or of a placebo. Four of 229 adverse events were considered related to the study drug, including purpura (n = 3) and thrombocytosis (n = 1). No subject developed a detectable level of anti-SB 209763 antibody. Approximately 1 week after administration of the second dose of SB 209763 at 10 mg/kg, the mean plasma concentration (n = 9) was 68.5 μg/ml. The terminal half-life (T1/2) determined by noncompartmental analysis ranged from 22 to 50 days. The population pharmacokinetics for SB 209763 following intramuscular administration was appropriately described by a one-compartment model with first-order input and elimination. Higher values for clearance and volume of distribution at steady state were observed for younger patients, with values decreasing to 0.143 (ml/h)/kg and 161 mL/kg, respectively, by a mean age of 298 days (∼10 months). The mean T1/2 of SB 209763 for the study population was 32.5 days. No other factor (dose, weight, gender, race, premature birth, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia) was observed to alter the population pharmacokinetics of SB 209763 in this study of infants and young children. The mean neutralization titer on day 6 was 286, and the mean fusion inhibition titer was 36. At least 57% of subjects dosed at 1.25 to 10.0 mg of SB 209763 per kg of body weight who were seronegative at baseline experienced a fourfold or greater increase in fusion inhibition titer. Nine RSV infections were documented during the 16-week course of the study; the numbers of RSV infections were similar for the different regimens, including the placebo. The doses of SB 209763 studied may have been insufficient to confer protection against RSV lower respiratory tract disease; these results suggest that additional trials using higher doses of monoclonal antibody for immunoprophylaxis should be considered.
PMCID: PMC89130  PMID: 10223933
8.  Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Infections of Adults and Children 
Western Journal of Medicine  1976;125(1):47-55.
Although the hallmark of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is pneumonia, the organism is also responsible for a protean array of other symptoms. With an increased awareness of the board clinical spectrum of M. pneumoniae disease and the ready availability of the cold agglutinin and M. pneumoniae complement-fixation tests, interested clinicians will note additional clinical-mycoplasmal associations in their patients.
PMCID: PMC1237178  PMID: 782043

Results 1-8 (8)