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The development of the immune system continues to mature until adulthood, and then results in a decline. The immune system of an adolescent is closely related to changes occurring to an individual’s body once they are reaching puberty (Liu and Zhao, 2010). The regulation of hormone levels during puberty is significantly related to the function of the immune system in adolescents. The hormones oestrogen and androgens are directly linked to the maturity of the immune system, expressing the functional macrophages and T-helper cells. The maturation of dendritic cells, T-helper cells, and toll-like receptors is essential for the development of immune responses in adolescents (Liu and Zhao, 2010). The sex steroid hormones affect the innate and adaptive immune systems, suggesting for the differences in the immune function of adolescents and adults that may be related to gender-dependent difference in vaccine immunogenicity.


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Figure: Showing the different cells present in the immune system to help stimulate an immune response to antigens.

Oestrogen:
The hormone in the body that affects the immune system of an adolescent is by its ability to stimulate IgG and IgM secretion. Oestrogen is also to regulate the function of macrophages, monocytes and antigens (Netea, 2004).

Androgens:
The hormone secreted at higher levels in males and femaes which influences on the immune system. The hormone testosterone has also been identified to suppress the stress responses to antigens and infections (Netea, 2004). The increased levels of these hormones are at their maximal during male and female puberty.



Adult Immune System : Neonatal Immune System Vaccine Development : Vaccine Immunogenicity References Contributed by Rana Hammoud