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Mucosal Immunol. 2010 Sep;3(5):450-60. doi: 10.1038/mi.2010.20. Epub 2010 May 5.

A new vision of immunity: homeostasis of the superorganism.

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1
Department of Immunology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. gerard.eberl@pasteur.fr

Abstract

The immune system is commonly perceived as an army of organs, tissues, cells, and molecules that protect from disease by eliminating pathogens. However, as in human society, a clear definition of good and evil might be sometimes difficult to achieve. Not only do we live in contact with a multitude of microbes, but we also live with billions of symbionts that span all the shades from mutualists to potential killers. Together, we compose a superorganism that is capable of optimal living. In that context, the immune system is not a killer, but rather a force that shapes homeostasis within the superorganism.

PMID:
20445502
DOI:
10.1038/mi.2010.20
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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