Babies are born with an immature immune system, which gradually matures during their first year(s) of life. This maturation is dependent on environmental exposures such as the establishment of a gut flora and exposure to various infections, but also on maternal immunological infleuence. These types of interactions between the surrounding environment and the neonate will provide the individual with an immune system, which knows how to react and also to what antigens it should respond. In contrast early microbial deprivation/deviation or maternal disease could result in poor infant immune maturation and/or altered immune balance and later also to immune mediated diseases, like allergy. Our main research goals are to understand how early-life (microbial) exposures influence immune maturation and allergy development. We perform experimental studies in vitro with human and murine cells complemented by in vivo studies in murine systems. Main methods are cell and tissue culture, flow cytometry, ELISA-based techniques, microscopy and real-time PCR.



immune maturation, children, gut microbiota, gut epithelium, herpesvirus, allergy


Selected publications

Saghafian-Hedengren, S., Sohlberg, E., Theorell, J., Carvalho-Queiroz, C., Nagy, N., Persson, J.O., Nilsson, C., Bryceson, Y.T., Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2013) Epstein-barr virus coinfection in children boosts cytomegalovirus-induced differentiation of natural killer cells. J Virol. 7(24):13446-55

Sohlberg, E., Saghafian-Hedengren, S., Rasul, E., Marchini, G., Nilsson, C., Klein, E., Nagy, N., Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2013) Cytomegalovirus-Seropositive Children Show Inhibition of In Vitro EBV Infection That Is Associated with CD8+CD57+ T Cell Enrichment and IFN-γ. J Immunol. 191(11):5669-76

Haileselassie, Y., Johansson, M. A., Zimmer, C.L., Björkander, S., Petursdottir, D.H., Dicksved, J., Petersson, M., Persson, J.O., Fernandez, C., Roos, S., Holmlund, U., Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2013) Lactobacilli Regulate Staphylococcus aureus 161:2-Induced Pro-Inflammatory T-Cell Responses In Vitro. PLoS One. 8(10):e77893

Johansson, M.A., Saghafian-Hedengren, S., Haileselassie, Y., Roos, S., Troye-Blomberg, M., Nilsson, C., & Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2012). Early-life gut bacteria associate with IL-4-, IL-10- and IFN-γ production at two years of age. PloS One. 7(11):e49315

Johansson, M.A., Sjögren, Y.M., Persson, J.O., Nilsson, C., & Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2011).   Early colonization with a group of Lactobacilli decreases the risk for allergy at five years of age despite allergic heredity. PloS One. 6(8):e23031.

Saghafian-Hedengren, S., Sverremark-Ekström, E., Lilja, G., Linde, A., & Nilsson, C. (2010). Early life EBV-infection protects against persistent IgE-sensitization. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 125:433-38

Saghafian-Hedengren S, Sundström, S., Sohlberg, E., Nilsson, C., Troye-Blomberg, M., Berg, L., & Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2009). Herpesvirus seropositivity in childhood associates with decreased monocyte-induced NK-cell IFN-gamma production. J Immunol. 182:2511-17

Amoudruz, P., Holmlund, U., Malmström, V., Trollmo, C., Bremme, K., Scheynius, A., & Sverremark-Ekström, E. (2005). Neonatal immune responses to microbial stimuli: is there an influence of maternal allergy? J Allergy Clin Immunol. 115:1304-10