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Life history, maintenance, and the early origins of immune function.

Abstract

There is compelling evidence to suggest that early environments are important determinants of immune function over the life course. While current research focuses on proximate mechanisms and clinical implications, an adaptationist perspective may contribute a theoretical basis for explaining, rather than merely describing, the long-term impact of early environments. Life history theory in particular, with its emphasis on the life cycle and investment in maintenance effort-of which immune function is a central component-provides a predictive framework for identifying prenatal and early postnatal factors that are likely to shape immunity. Key life history issues at these stages include avoiding death from infectious disease, investing in immune defenses that are appropriate for the local disease ecology, and optimizing competing demands for investment in immune function and growth. A series of hypotheses derived from these issues are proposed and evaluated with data from ongoing research in the Philippines and Bolivia. Ecologically-informed research on immunity is in its earliest stages, and life history theory has the potential to make important contributions to our understanding of the development and function of this critical physiological system.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    Laboratory for Human Biology Research, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA. t-mcdade@northwestern.edu

    Source

    MeSH

    Adaptation, Physiological
    Developmental Biology
    Environment
    Female
    Humans
    Immune System
    Maternal-Fetal Exchange
    Nutritional Status
    Pregnancy
    Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
    Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
    Time Factors

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    15612049

    Citation

    McDade, Thomas W.. "Life History, Maintenance, and the Early Origins of Immune Function." American Journal of Human Biology : the Official Journal of the Human Biology Council, vol. 17, no. 1, 2005, pp. 81-94.
    McDade TW. Life history, maintenance, and the early origins of immune function. Am J Hum Biol. 2005;17(1):81-94.
    McDade, T. W. (2005). Life history, maintenance, and the early origins of immune function. American Journal of Human Biology : the Official Journal of the Human Biology Council, 17(1), pp. 81-94.
    McDade TW. Life History, Maintenance, and the Early Origins of Immune Function. Am J Hum Biol. 2005;17(1):81-94. PubMed PMID: 15612049.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Life history, maintenance, and the early origins of immune function. A1 - McDade,Thomas W, PY - 2004/12/22/pubmed PY - 2005/5/11/medline PY - 2004/12/22/entrez SP - 81 EP - 94 JF - American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council JO - Am. J. Hum. Biol. VL - 17 IS - 1 N2 - There is compelling evidence to suggest that early environments are important determinants of immune function over the life course. While current research focuses on proximate mechanisms and clinical implications, an adaptationist perspective may contribute a theoretical basis for explaining, rather than merely describing, the long-term impact of early environments. Life history theory in particular, with its emphasis on the life cycle and investment in maintenance effort-of which immune function is a central component-provides a predictive framework for identifying prenatal and early postnatal factors that are likely to shape immunity. Key life history issues at these stages include avoiding death from infectious disease, investing in immune defenses that are appropriate for the local disease ecology, and optimizing competing demands for investment in immune function and growth. A series of hypotheses derived from these issues are proposed and evaluated with data from ongoing research in the Philippines and Bolivia. Ecologically-informed research on immunity is in its earliest stages, and life history theory has the potential to make important contributions to our understanding of the development and function of this critical physiological system. SN - 1042-0533 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15612049/Life_history_maintenance_and_the_early_origins_of_immune_function_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.20095 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -