The development and increasing diffusion of new vaccinations and global immunization protocols have aroused burning debates about safety of adjuvants and their immunogenicity-enhancing effect in vaccines. Shoenfeld and Agmon-Levin have grouped under the term "autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants" (ASIA) a complex of variable signs and symptoms that may occur after a previous exposure to different adjuvants and also external environmental triggers, even eliciting specific overt immune-mediated disorders. This entity subsumes five medical conditions: post-vaccination phenomena, gulf war syndrome, macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome, siliconosis, and sick building syndrome, but the relevance and magnitude of the syndrome in the pediatric age is fundamentally limited to post-vaccination autoimmune or inflammatory disorders. The occurrence of vaccine-triggered phenomena represents a diagnostic challenge for clinicians and a research conundrum for many investigators. In this paper, we will analyze the general features of ASIA and focus on specific post-vaccination events in relation with the pediatric background. In the presence of a favorable genetic background, many autoimmune/inflammatory responses can be triggered by adjuvants and external factors, showing how the man himself might breach immune tolerance and drive many pathogenetic aspects of human diseases. Nonetheless, the elective application of ASIA diagnostic criteria to the pediatric population requires further assessment and evaluations. Additional studies are needed to help clarify connections between innate or adaptive immunity and pathological and/or protective autoantibodies mostly in the pediatric age, as children and adolescents are mainly involved in the immunization agendas related to vaccine-preventable diseases.
- ASIA syndrome