Chronic pediatric diseases arising from early-life immune insult and postnatal immune dysfunction are among the most prevalent health challenges for children. Diseases such as childhood asthma and allergies, chronic otitis media, type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia and pediatric celiac disease all feature dysfunctional immune responses and/or inappropriately skewed immune capacities. Additionally, these disorders have been increasing in incidence in recent years with previously identified risk factors unable to fully account for the change. Still, some treatment approaches target the initial health complaint and its symptoms without fully addressing either the underlying immune dysfunction of the initial disease or the likelihood for additional associated health risks in later life. Therefore, it is useful to understand both the nature of the immune dysfunction as well as the reported associated health risks. This review characterizes those pediatric immune dysfunctions produced by well-studied immunotoxicants and provides a matrix of those health risks that appear to be linked together via the underlying pediatric immune dysfunction. This information could lead to: 1) improved identification and treatment of underlying immune dysfunction, 2) long-term approaches to health management, and 3) improved prenatal and neonatal prevention strategies to avoid environmentally-induced immune insult and developmental immunotoxicity.
Keywords: Developmental immunotoxicity, pediatric health, immune dysfunction, childhood illness, co-morbidity
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