Molecular and Cellular Basis of Immunity and Immunological Diseases

  • Kevin Elias
  • Richard Siegel
  • John J. O’Shea


The vertebrate immune system protects the host from a wide variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. However, this remarkable versatility comes at the cost of autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases that affect approximately 1 in 30 individuals. This chapter briefly reviews the cardinal molecular and cellular features of the immune system, including the molecular basis of recognition and response to pathogens, mechanisms of tolerance, and immunological memory. Knowledge of the immune system is critical to understanding rheumatologic disease. While the detailed pathophysiology of major autoimmune diseases remains elusive, genetic immune disorders and the effects of new biologic targeted treatments provide insights into many of the mechanisms of immunological disease.


Natural Killer Cell Familial Mediterranean Fever Antigen Receptor Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutate Innate Immune Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Elias
    • 1
  • Richard Siegel
    • 2
  • John J. O’Shea
    • 3
  1. 1.Lymphocyte Cell Biology SectionNational Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin DiseasesBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Immunoregulation Group, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Lymphocyte Cell Biology SectionNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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