Host Microbicidal Actions of the Innate Immune Response

  • Steven M. Opal
  • Richard L. Yap
Part of the Molecular and Cellular Biology of Critical Care Medicine book series (MCCM, volume 3)


The human body is constantly under assault by potential microbial pathogens. In addition to the enormous numbers of micro-organisms that we ingest, inhale, aspirate, and come in direct contact with on a daily basis, the average human has 1014 (one hundred trillion) micro-organisms in the alimentary tract and on epithelial surfaces throughout the body (1). Transient bacteremia is a frequent event from oral microbial flora or skin flora following minor trauma to these areas (e.g. 25% incidence of bacteremia with brushing teeth) (2). A multitude of fungal spores are inhaled on a daily basis and humans are repeatedly exposed to potentially pathogenic respiratory viruses in the environment. Our very existence is absolutely dependent upon an ever vigilant and efficient antimicrobial defense system. In this introductory chapter, we will review the fundamental elements of the host defense system and describe the basic strategies employed against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.


Innate Immune Response Chronic Granulomatous Disease Acute Phase Protein Microbial Pathogen Soluble CD14 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven M. Opal
    • 1
  • Richard L. Yap
    • 1
  1. 1.Brown University School of MedicineProvidenceUSA

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