• Patrick Murphy


Modern immunology has so changed its emphasis that the neutrophil is rarely considered as anything other than an effector cell of no intrinsic interest. The chief concern of immunologists at present are the exploration of the ways in which antigen-responsive cells are stimulated by foreign materials, and of the consequences that flow from these interactions. There is no evidence to suggest that the neutrophil plays any part in the development of new capacities by immunized animals. Like the legendary jackass of Missouri, he is of uncertain ancestry and without hope of progeny, and there is no mechanism by which the experience of an individual neutrophil could be translated into altered function on the part of its descendants. Rather, the neutrophil is an end cell, with an impressive assortment of preformed antibacterial systems, that has a half-life in the blood of a few hours, and that survives in the tissues for at most a few days. It has virtually no capacity to adapt or improve its bactericidal mechanisms, and its improved performance in immune animals depends on antibodies that are manufactured by other cells. Nor does the neutrophil display much discrimination; given a suitable stimulus, it responds in the same stereotyped fashion whether the outcome be destruction of an invading parasite or of host tissue.


Phagocytic Cell Immunize Animal Bactericidal Mechanism Normal Seron Chief Concern 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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