Immune Response

Anthony Quinn, Claudia Raja-Gabaglia, Susanne C. Schneider, Todd Braciak and Eli E Sercarz, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Copyright © 1998 Elsevier Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The immune response involves a coordinated set of interactions among host cells and the protective molecules they produce upon encountering a pathogen or antigen, the purpose of which is to prevent dangerous incursions and then to restore homeostasis. The immune system must not only confront external, invasive challenge from microorganisms but also the possibility of internal attack from tumor cells, and occasionally autoaggrcssivc attack from its own defensive forces (autoimmunity). The required complexity of this response is illustrated by the fact that throughout evolution, viruses, bacteria and other parasites have accommodated to the host response by developing their own unique strategies designed to circumvent the host defense system. Likewise, appropriate responses in the host have evolved to cover these contingencies, with some accompanying redundancy. Thus, there appear to be many nodal points throughout the system where a choice of reactive pathways is available. Indeed, the host immune response consists of two interacting systems, one innate and one adaptive.

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