Can apoptotic cells represent "danger" to the immune system?

mark mark.haynes at
Wed Feb 3 17:06:08 EST 1999

Ian A. York wrote:
> I'd really like to see a *falsifiable* prediction from the "danger
> theory".  So far, as far as I can tell, whenever an observation is made
> that appears to contradict the theory, a post-hoc explanation is provided
> that squeezes it into the theory, and the observation is then adduced as
> proof of the theory.

I gotta agree from the standpoint of the popperian in me.  But I think 
one falsifiable prediction is that "normal" apoptosis should not induce 
a specific immune response. problem is in the design obviously, 'casue many 
of the possilbe peptides might already be tolerant (sic).  maybe transgenics 
could be manipulated to approach this question.

 the other part of this statement is true throughout science  

> It's probably equally true of the "self-non-self" theory, of course; but
> as I've argued before, I see no reason whatsoever to try to shoehorn all
> of immunology into a 25-word-or-less advertising jingle....Pointing to the 
> problems with the "non-self" approach is
> good; to my mind, trying to replace that inadequate paradigm with a
> different, and probably equally inadequate, paradigm seems to be missing
> the point.

  CAn we thank tom kuhn for that or was he describeing a uniquely human 

> Surely we're capable of accepting that a complex system doesn't *have* to
> be encapsulated in a "paradigm".

Again, my guess is that we can't, but we can try--from what you say let me 
ask this.  Do you think its possible that the immune system evolved by a 
coalesence of 2 or maor pathways of recognition and thereby 2 or more 
paradigm are needed to explain them in that grand reductionist bend that we 
are riding on?

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