The immune system is dead! Long live the immune system!

Jamie Cunliffe cunlij at
Fri Feb 4 17:32:56 EST 2000

In article <389AE42B.CDA6A29D at>,
  D Forsdyke <forsdyke1 at> wrote:

> Dear Jamie,
>            Without requiring readers to go your web-site, could you
> clarify what is the difference between your "Hey guys" and "Oops"
> alternatives. They seem pretty well the same to me.
> Sincerely, Donald Forsdyke. Discussion Leader, Bionet.immunology


Read nearly any text of immunology and you will find that people
believe the system is looking specifically for bugs. It is a
fundamental assumption that it is a self/non-self discriminating
system. In fact, I claim, it is an order/disorder discriminating
system. The human body consists of 10 to the power 13 zygote derived
cells and 10 to the power 14 non-zygote derived cells (the "bugs") so
it is manifestly not mounting major aggression to these hangers on. The
whole concept of horror autotoxicus assumes that it is an inviolate
principle NOT to be able to attack self cells when it is a plain
tautology that, most certainly in the case of Tc cells, it is
manifestly able to do so. The contention is that the body carries out a
horror autotoxicus to healthy-self cells alone. All other-that-healthy-
self cells are considered fair game. Indeed, if the aggressive
phagocyte system becomes over exhuberant, it even gets fairly tough on
healthy self cells if they are in the vicinity.

Now I think this is a fundamental change in perspective. You obviously
aren't that convinced. What do others think?

Waterside Health Centre, SO45 5WX, UK
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