Immunology for the Non-immunologist

  • Andrew R. Pachner


The focus of immunology, both historically and conceptually, is the defensive response of a vertebrate animal (i.e., humans or animal models) to microorganisms leading to clearance of the pathogen, maintenance of homeostasis, and enhanced protection in the future to the same or similar microorganisms. Prior to the second half of the twentieth century, infectious diseases, especially those encountered during childhood, were massive public health threats. Although vaccines and antibiotics have blunted the threat, infections remain major causes of morbidity and mortality, and the immune response to established infections, as well as new/emerging infections, remains the nexus of immunology. An example of the importance of infections in immunology is that in many medical schools, microbiology and immunology are within the same department.


Major Histocompatibility Complex Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Innate Immune Response Adaptive Immune Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Gershon RK, Kondo K. Infectious immunological tolerance. Immunology. 1971;21(6):903–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gershon RK, Cohen P, Hencin R, Liebhaber SA. Suppressor T cells. J Immunol. 1972;108(3):586–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cantor H. Reviving suppression? Nat Immunol. 2004;5(4):347–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Corthay A. How do regulatory T cells work? Scand J Immunol. 2009;70(4):326–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dinarello CA. Immunological and inflammatory functions of the interleukin-1 family. Annu Rev Immunol. 2009;27:519–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bykowski T, Woodman ME, Cooley AE, et al. Borrelia burgdorferi complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (BbCRASPs): expression patterns during the mammal-tick infection cycle. Int J Med Microbiol. 2008;298 Suppl 1:249–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hopkins DR. The greatest killer: smallpox in history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2002. ISBN 0226351688.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew R. Pachner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology and Neuroscience New Jersey Medical SchoolUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations