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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2007, Article ID 83671, 10 pages
Review Article

Blurring Borders: Innate Immunity with Adaptive Features

1Department of Immunology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Pécs, Pécs 7624, Hungary
2Laboratory of Comparative Neuroimmunology, Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1763, USA

Received 26 June 2007; Accepted 5 November 2007

Academic Editor: Yasunobu Yoshikai

Copyright © 2007 K. Kvell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adaptive immunity has often been considered the penultimate of immune capacities. That system is now being deconstructed to encompass less stringent rules that govern its initiation, actual effector activity, and ambivalent results. Expanding the repertoire of innate immunity found in all invertebrates has greatly facilitated the relaxation of convictions concerning what actually constitutes innate and adaptive immunity. Two animal models, incidentally not on the line of chordate evolution (C. elegans and Drosophila), have contributed enormously to defining homology. The characteristics of specificity and memory and whether the antigen is pathogenic or nonpathogenic reveal considerable information on homology, thus deconstructing the more fundamentalist view. Senescence, cancer, and immunosuppression often associated with mammals that possess both innate and adaptive immunity also exist in invertebrates that only possess innate immunity. Strict definitions become blurred casting skepticism on the utility of creating rigid definitions of what innate and adaptive immunity are without considering overlaps.