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Mol Immunol. 2003 Sep;40(2-4):85-94.

"Eat me" and "don't eat me" signals govern the innate immune response and tissue repair in the CNS: emphasis on the critical role of the complement system.

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Brain Inflammation and Immunity Group (BIIG), Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF144XN, Wales, UK.


A full innate immune system (e.g. complement system, scavenger receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLR)) has been described in the CNS and is thought to be an extremely efficient army designed to fight against invading pathogens and toxic cell debris such as apoptotic cells and amyloid fibrils. The binding of soluble or secreted innate immune molecules on pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) as well as apoptotic cell-associated molecular patterns (ACAMPs) provide several "eat me" signals to promote the safe disposal of the intruders by professional and amateur phagocytes. These patterns are deciphered by receptors (pattern recognition receptors, PRRs; e.g. CR3) that control phagocytosis and associated inflammatory response depending on the meaning of these signals. Importantly, in order to avoid excessive collateral damage of surrounding cells, it is increasingly evident that "don't eat me" signals (coined herein as self-associated molecular patterns, SAMPs; e.g. complement regulatory proteins, CD200) are of paramount importance to signal a robust anti-inflammatory response and promote tissue repair. Further knowledge of the innate immune response in the CNS will greatly help to delineate the novel therapeutic routes to protect from CNS inflammation and neurodegeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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