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Innate vs acquired immunity 

Innate vs acquired immunity
Innate vs acquired immunity
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

Reinhard E. Voll

and Barbara M. Bröker

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The innate and the adaptive immune system efficiently cooperate to protect us from infections. The ancient innate immune system, dating back to the first multicellular organisms, utilizes phagocytic cells, soluble antimicrobial peptides, and the complement system for an immediate line of defence against pathogens. Using a limited number of germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors including the Toll-like, RIG-1-like, and NOD-like receptors, the innate immune system recognizes so-called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMPs are specific for groups of related microorganisms and represent highly conserved, mostly non-protein molecules essential for the pathogens’ life cycles. Hence, escape mutants strongly reduce the pathogen’s fitness. An important task of the innate immune system is to distinguish between harmless antigens and potentially dangerous pathogens. Ideally, innate immune cells should activate the adaptive immune cells only in the case of invading pathogens. The evolutionarily rather new adaptive immune system, which can be found in jawed fish and higher vertebrates, needs several days to mount an efficient response upon its first encounter with a certain pathogen. As soon as antigen-specific lymphocyte clones have been expanded, they powerfully fight the pathogen. Importantly, memory lymphocytes can often protect us from reinfections. During the development of T and B lymphocytes, many millions of different receptors are generated by somatic recombination and hypermutation of gene segments making up the antigen receptors. This process carries the inherent risk of autoimmunity, causing most inflammatory rheumatic diseases. In contrast, inadequate activation of the innate immune system, especially activation of the inflammasomes, may cause autoinflammatory syndromes.

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