Forgetful T cells in newborn babies
Let’s try to understand it more clearly:
We all know that we have an immune system in our body which is made up of cells and tissues and which fights against pathogens and other disease causing agents. And it is also known that infants’ immune system is not able to fight against these diseases as the adults’ immune system does. Infants are more prone to diseases. But the reason behind this fact is not clear to anyone. The formation of “T- cells” in humans is the reason behind the strength of the immune system. The increase in number of T cells increases the strength of immune system. So these T cells are germ fighting cells.
Now the question is how these T cells work?
The answer for your question is that these T cells when encounter any pathogen and fight against them, the next time these pathogens enter your body these T cells fight against these pathogens more effectively and quickly if they remember them.
Now, in case of adults T cells are created in large number to fight against the disease causing germs. From the T cells produced 10% of them settle themselves in a “memory pool”, that means they become active quickly whenever they encounter a germ they had fought earlier. This means that the T cells recognize the germ and fight against these germs more efficiently than the first time.
But in the case of newborns, the T cells do not enter any memory pool. These cells cannot recognize the viruses even if they have fought against them earlier. Although, the T cells in newborns are stronger and respond faster but since these cells are short-lived the immune system in newborns’ has to start over the process again for fighting against these germs. This is the reason why newborns have weaker immune system.
The above discovery leads us to another question that is what to do to make the infants’ immune system work like an adults’ immune system or what to do that will increase the memory of T cells in infants. Any vaccine which keeps infants safe for a long time has still not been discovered, scientists have been trying their best to discover one.
From the study it is clear that it’s not the cells but it’s the forgetful cells which makes a newborns’ body more prone to diseases. So although newborns’ immune system is stronger and respond against germs faster still they are more vulnerable to diseases. For now the study from Cornell University in New York has only changed our aspect of thinking, as we used to think earlier that it’s the immature cells in the newborns which make them more prone to diseases.