Recognition of self vs non-self by macrophages?

Klaus D. Elgert kdelgert at
Fri Nov 4 10:33:57 EST 1994

        A question arose in our graduate level immunology course.  "How do 
macrophages distinguish between self and non-self?"  Macrophages are 
considered antigen nonspecific cells.  Yet, they can distinguish between 
side-by-side antigens, i.e., bacteria and self host cells.  Also, they 
recognize differences between crenating and old erythrocytes and normal 
erythrocytes, or neoplasic and normal cells.  I would appreciate any 
answers/comments.  Please post to the group or directly by e-mail to 
kdelgert at

Thanks in advance,

Klaus D. Elgert

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