re the real function of immune system, ad naus..

Ephraim Fuchs ejf at
Fri Jun 2 23:12:15 EST 1995


You may not be Dr. Kirberg yet, but you certainly deserve your Ph.D, 
judging by the erudition of your response!

Rather than argue back and forth, perhaps I should ask you,

What experiment could I or someone else do that would convince you that B 
cells cannot activate naive T cells?

If the immune system can discriminate self from nonself and B cells are 
capable of activating naive T cells, how do T cells distinguish peptides 
from foreign antigens (nonself) from the identical peptide that is 
present in a B cell idiotype (self)?

I believe that this second question is what drove Jerne to formulate a 
network theory of the immune response (although he wasn't dealing with T 
cells at the time).  Either that or it drove him to drink.  

But, as Mel Cohn has accurately stated, a self-regulating idiotypic 
network is impossible because there is no mechanism to ensure that an 
id-antigen interaction can be uniquely inductive whereas an id-anti-id 
interaction is uniquely suppressive.

If you can provide me a cogent, testable answer to my second question 
(about distinguishing idiotypes from foreign antigens), then I will 
concede the possibility that B cells can activate naive T cells.

Ephraim Fuchs
ejf at

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