Event Abstract

The immune system: differences between man, pigs, ruminants and mice.

  • 1 University of Bristol, School of Clinical Veterinary Science, United Kingdom

The immune systems of multicellular animals have evolved under pressure to cope with both with pathogens and with harmless or potentially beneficial micro-organisms. The major surfaces which are exposed to these organisms are those of the intestine and other body surfaces, and many of the protective mechanisms which have evolved in different groups have common origins, such as the use of antimicrobial peptides produced by epithelial cells in vertebrates and invertebrates. Similarly, the survival advantage of the adaptive immune system in the early jawed fish may have been entirely dependant on protection of mucosal surfaces since, in these animals, mucin covers the skin as well as the intestine and both sites pump IgM across epithelial cells using related polymeric Ig receptors. The ancient origin of the systems for protection of mucosal surfaces and, presumably, of solutions to the problem of discriminating between 'harmful' and 'harmless' antigens may suggest that many of the mechanisms will be common between different animal species, and recent advances in genomics, sequencing and transgenic technologies have provided an increasing understanding of mechanisms for expressing and controlling immune function in laboratory rodents.

However, it is also clear from studies in a range of species that the mechanisms involved in expression of mucosal immunity differ quite dramatically between groups. Thus, although IgM is still used by fish, it has been largely replaced by IgX, IgY and IgA in other groups of vertebrates. Similar modifications to the function of the mucosal immune system continue to be made in birds and mammals, including humans and their domesticated species. Striking examples include the use of IgG1 at mucosal surfaces by ruminants and, particularly, the role of aggregates of lymphoid tissues for differentiation and expansion of repertoire by B-lymphocytes. These differences have presumably accumulated because of the ongoing host-parasite 'arms race', providing continuous pressure to evolve novel mechanisms for mucosal protection as pathogens evolve to evade the existing mechanism. This paradigm suggests that the mechanisms for expression and control of mucosal immunity may be more divergent between species than those of other physiological systems. Since pathogen evolution may be remarkably fast, divergence of immunological function may be present even within apparently closely related groups such as the mammals. Thus, experimental studies in laboratory rodents may need to be interpreted with care: while they can clearly be of value in identifying mechanisms which may be present in other species, we may expect to find that some of these may be unique to mice, while modified or even novel systems may have developed in others.

Keywords: difference between mucosal immunity, identifying mechanisms, other species, pathogens

Conference: ECMIS - E. coli and the Mucosal Immune System : Interaction, Modulation and Vaccination, Ghent, Belgium, 2 Jul - 5 Jul, 2011.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Topic: Immune responses in humans, ruminants, pigs and poultry

Citation: Bailey M (2011). The immune system: differences between man, pigs, ruminants and mice.. Front. Immunol. Conference Abstract: ECMIS - E. coli and the Mucosal Immune System : Interaction, Modulation and Vaccination. doi: 10.3389/conf.fimmu.2011.01.00003

Copyright: The abstracts in this collection have not been subject to any Frontiers peer review or checks, and are not endorsed by Frontiers. They are made available through the Frontiers publishing platform as a service to conference organizers and presenters.

The copyright in the individual abstracts is owned by the author of each abstract or his/her employer unless otherwise stated.

Each abstract, as well as the collection of abstracts, are published under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 (attribution) licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) and may thus be reproduced, translated, adapted and be the subject of derivative works provided the authors and Frontiers are attributed.

For Frontiers’ terms and conditions please see https://www.frontiersin.org/legal/terms-and-conditions.

Received: 22 Sep 2011; Published Online: 26 Sep 2011.

* Correspondence: Prof. Mick Bailey, University of Bristol, School of Clinical Veterinary Science, Bristol, United Kingdom, mick.bailey@bristol.ac.uk