On the mystique of the immunological self

Arthur M. Silverstein, Noel R. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Since the time of Paul Ehrlich 100 years ago, we have known that the immunological apparatus somehow inhibits most damaging autoimmune responses while permitting a response to exogenous immunogens. With the discovery of tolerance, the concept of immunological surveillance, and especially with the discovery of HLA restriction of T-cell recognition, the term 'the immunological self' and the phrase 'self-nonself discrimination' have gained wide currency. Immunology has been called 'The Science of Self', and self-nonself discrimination has been assigned as the driving force for its complex evolution. The concept of self has thus been given such mystical trappings since the time of Macfarlane Burnet that recent workers have felt free to pronounce it the central paradigm of modern immunology, and to claim to overthrow it! In this article, we challenge some of the more egregious claims about the immunological self by recalling important historical findings, by reviewing the mechanisms of Darwinian evolution, and by remembering that the general pathology of immunogenic inflammation shows that the immune response cannot discriminate between the benign and the noxious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalImmunological Reviews
Volume159
StatePublished - Oct 1997

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Allergy and Immunology
Sanguisorba
Immunologic Surveillance
Autoimmunity
Self Concept
Pathology
Inflammation
T-Lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

Silverstein, A. M., & Rose, N. R. (1997). On the mystique of the immunological self. Immunological Reviews, 159, 197-206.

On the mystique of the immunological self. / Silverstein, Arthur M.; Rose, Noel R.

In: Immunological Reviews, Vol. 159, 10.1997, p. 197-206.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Silverstein, AM & Rose, NR 1997, 'On the mystique of the immunological self', Immunological Reviews, vol. 159, pp. 197-206.
Silverstein AM, Rose NR. On the mystique of the immunological self. Immunological Reviews. 1997 Oct;159:197-206.
Silverstein, Arthur M. ; Rose, Noel R. / On the mystique of the immunological self. In: Immunological Reviews. 1997 ; Vol. 159. pp. 197-206.
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