Terminological Activities in Immunology
The immune system is composed of a large variety of cells and molecules which are characterized by their diverse biologic functions. In order to describe their generation and the dynamic interactions, meaningful and coherent terminology is absolutely necessary. However, the situation is yet unsatisfactory because of the reasons we describe here. The mother society of immunological organizations, the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS), has started a nomenclature committee in 1973, and has organized a series of committee meetings where a standard procedure for immunological terminology has been proposed. The procedure consists of 5 steps: 1) Establishment of a specific committee (working group), 2) development of an initial draft, 3) review by parental WHO-IUIS nomenclature committee, 4) submission of the document to the WHO Bulletin, 5) submission to other journals using the reference from the WHO Bulletin. Several activities are currently on-going (1). However, the problems have become more complicated than the time of above proposal as we describe here, which do not allow the simple application of the above procedure. We shall discuss in this communication how the nomenclature problems have arisen in immunology, and what efforts are being made to solve them. The problems in immunological terminology are probably typical ones which are shared by other disciplines of molecular and cellular biology. Three important areas were chosen to present current movements to establish unified nomenclature in immunology. They are 1) HLA (human histocompatibility antigens) by the International Histocompatibility Workshop and Conference, 2) CD (leukocyte differentiation markers) by the International Workshop and Conference on Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens, and 3) IL (interleukins-lymphokines) by the International Lymphokine Workshop and IUIS nomenclature subcommittee.
KeywordsNomenclature Committee Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigen Nomenclature Problem Official Descriptor International Histocompatibility Workshop
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