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Epilogue: The Innate Immune System: A Global Player in Health and Disease

  • Walter Gottlieb Land
Chapter

Abstract

This Epilogue exits Part II by stressing that the innate immune system—in particular, regarding its various DAMP-mediated functions—can be seen as a leading global player in health and disease. At first glance, this statement appears to be overdrawn. However, one should imagine: a controlled function of this defense system mediated by appropriate emission of DAMPs leads to wound healing, cures bone fractures, heals a patient of a severe infectious disease, or assists in successful vaccination procedures. In other words, the system cares about health and guarantees prolonged survival of men. On the other hand, the uncontrolled, exaggerated, or overshooting emission of DAMPs can result in death as, for example, daily observed in intensive care units, where critically ill patients die from incurable sepsis associated with DAMP-promoted systemic inflammatory response syndrome and multiple organ failure or may be the consequence of a cardiovascular accident caused by systemic life-threatening DAMP-promoted atherosclerotic processes. The Epilogue emphasizes the purpose of the book, intended to make the reader familiar with the “tragic” function of DAMPs: life-saving when generated at physiological levels but deadly in terms of an organism’s suicide when produced in too high concentrations.

As will be outlined and highlighted in many places of this book, the innate immune system—in particular, regarding its various DAMP-mediated functions—can be seen as a leading global player in health and disease. At first glance, this statement appears incredible and to be overdrawn. However, imagine: a controlled function of this defense system mediated by appropriate emission of DAMPs leads to wound healing, cures bone fractures, heals a patient of a severe infectious disease, or assists in successful vaccination procedures; in other words: the system cares about health and guarantees prolonged survival of men. On the other hand, the uncontrolled, exaggerated, or overshooting emission of DAMPs can result in death as, for example, daily observed in intensive care units, where critically ill patients die from incurable sepsis associated with DAMP-promoted SIRS and multiple organ failure (MOF), or may be the consequence of a cardiovascular accident caused by systemic life-threatening DAMP-promoted atherosclerotic processes. It is the purpose of this book, to make the reader familiar with the “tragic” function of DAMPs: life-saving when generated at physiological levels, but deadly in terms of an organism’s suicide when produced in too high concentrations.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of StrasbourgMolecular ImmunoRheumatology, Laboratory of Excellence TransplantexStrasbourgFrance

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