Lymphoid Organs and Amphibian Immunity
Immunological responses are physiological mechanisms which endow an animal with the capacity to recognize foreign materials and to eliminate them. In order to execute the functions of immunity, a ubiquitous cell system has evolved within the vertebrates known as the lymphoreticular system. This collection of cellular elements is distributed strategically throughout the body and housed primarily in various lymphoid organs. Observations on the morphological development of the vertebrate lymphoid system (1) reveals that as one examines the phylogenetic scale from agnathans to birds and mammals, the number, location and diversity of lymphoid organs increases. By analyzing the lymphoid system of primitive vertebrates, one can thus gain answers as to how the immune system of advanced vertebrates evolved.
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