Since the mid-20th century, researchers have reported signs of infection before death in children who die in crib death. Studies have shown increased immune activity in the lungs, salivary glands, pharynx, tonsils, intestinal mucosa, and larynx. Other studies show that environmental influences and bacterial growth can initiate a cytokine cascade, which under certain conditions, can lead to a disturbed immunological balance and a situation reminiscent of toxic shock. These studies may indicate that infants who die in crib death are more vulnerable to, and have a more inappropriate response to infections than other children have.
These observations draw attention to the complicated interaction between the various actors in the immune system, and to a possible incorrect regulation.
The purpose of this project is to investigate a panel of 95 immunological proteins to understand where in the biological process an unintentional error occurs. We hope that this, together with previous results, will provide an increased understanding of what the observed genetic variation and mRNA expression profiles mean for how the concentrations of immune proteins.