Blurring borders: Innate immunity with adaptive features

K. Kvell, El Cooper, P. Engelmann, J. Bovari, P. Nemeth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

34 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptive immunity has often been considered the penultimate of immune capacities. That system is now being deconstructed to encompass less stringent rules that govern its initiation, actual effector activity, and ambivalent results. Expanding the repertoire of innate immunity found in all invertebrates has greatly facilitated the relaxation of convictions concerning what actually constitutes innate and adaptive immunity. Two animal models, incidentally not on the line of chordate evolution (C. elegans and Drosophila), have contributed enormously to defining homology. The characteristics of specificity and memory and whether the antigen is pathogenic or nonpathogenic reveal considerable information on homology, thus deconstructing the more fundamentalist view. Senescence, cancer, and immunosuppression often associated with mammals that possess both innate and adaptive immunity also exist in invertebrates that only possess innate immunity. Strict definitions become blurred casting skepticism on the utility of creating rigid definitions of what innate and adaptive immunity are without considering overlaps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number83671
JournalClinical and Developmental Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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