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Chimerism. 2011 Apr;2(2):35-41. doi: 10.4161/chim.2.2.16329.

At the crossroads between tolerance and aggression: Revisiting the "layered immune system" hypothesis.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology; Karolinska Institute; Stockholm, Sweden.


"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."-Anaïs NinIt has long been recognized that the developing immune system exhibits certain peculiarities when compared to the adult immune system. Nonetheless, many still regard the fetal immune system as simply being an immature version of the adult immune system. Here we discuss historical evidence as well as recent findings, which suggest that the human immune system may develop in distinct layers with specific functions at different stages of development.

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