Self/non-self recognition

Baxter, Alan G. (2006) Self/non-self recognition. In: Pollard, K. Michael, (ed.) Autoantibodies and Autoimmunity: molecular mechanisms in health and disease. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, pp. 37-61.

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Abstract

Tauber (1997), in his book The Immune Self - Theory or Metaphor, examined the origins and significance of the concept of self/non-self discrimination. In the process of asldng whether immunological self constituted a theory or a metaphor, he drew parallels between the search for a guiding principle to immunoreactivity and the philosophical issue of identity. Tauber occupies much of the book discussing the contributions of Kant, Descartes, Hegel, and Fichte et a1. to immunological theory. Macfarlane Burnet was responsible for introducing the term to immunology - although he used the phrase "self and not·self" - and it is clear from his writing that he did not see self as a deeply philosophical concept. His rationale for introdudng the pluase was that the same biological processes involved in pathogen defenses appeared to be active in transplant rejection, ABO blood group incompatibilities, Clnd the complications of fetal/maternal blood exchange during pregnancy. Thus, the activation of these processes had to involve a principle broader than just the recognition of infection (Burnet 1959) and these additional phenomena had to be incorporated into any concept of "what the immune system does." To him, self was neither a theory nor a metaphor, but an analogy.

Item ID: 3632
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: immunity; autoimmunity
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ISBN: 978-3-527-31141-5
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2009 03:27
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1107 Immunology > 110703 Autoimmunity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920108 Immune System and Allergy @ 100%
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