re "new" immune theory..

Ken Frauwirth BioKen frauwirt at notmendel.Berkeley.EDU
Wed Apr 12 12:35:19 EST 1995

In article <ralph.1148086064A at>,
Ralph M Bernstein <ralph at> wrote:
>    having an idea for a new theory is fine, but it seems to all be a part
>of the immune response-this may be a part of the way the immune system
>works, not _the_ way the immune system works.  after reading alot of the
>postings out there, alot of people have come up with exceptions to this new
>idea that i didnt think of, and i bet that there are alot more out there. 
>so maybe this is just an additional way to look at _some_ types of
>immunological interaction? 

I think that this points out one of the major problems with specialization in
science - the failure to look at a biological system as a *system*.  It seems
to me to be rather reasonable that *both* types of recognition (self vs.
nonself and "danger" vs. "non-danger") are working, although at different 
levels.  While a "danger" signal may be necessary (or at least very helpful)
in kicking off an immune response, it is clearly not enough.  There is
definitely a selection against auto-responses.  The requirement for a "danger"
signal is typified by the need for adjuvant during immunizations.  In fact, 
this probably evolved to prevent us from reacting with every innocuous foreign
substance that we contact (esp. food).  However, the H-Y graft rejection
illustrates that a danger signal is not sufficient.  Female mice reject skin
grafts from syngeneic male mice (one could argue that tissue damage from the
graft is the "danger" signal), but not from syngeneic females.  Thus, there is
clearly a need for foreign antigen as well.

Ken Frauwirth (MiSTie #33025)       _           _
frauwirt at       |_) *    |/ (_ |\ |
Dept. of Molec. & Cell Bio.        |_) | () |\ (_ | \|  
Univ. of Cal., Berkeley      "Yes, we have second bananas" - Torgo the White

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