Santa Fe Institute Collaboration Platform

COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

Get Involved!
Contact: Caitlin Lorraine McShea, Program Manager,

Genetic regulation of the specific and non-specific component of immunity

From Complex Time
General Reference
author-supplied keywords
Genetic regulation of the specific and non-specific component of immunity
Immunology Letters


Bi-directional selective breeding for antibody (Ab) responsiveness to heterologous erythrocytes (Selection I) produced a high (H) and a low (L) responder line of mice which were also remarkably separated for Ab responses to many unrelated natural antigens (Ags) such as heterologous proteins, viruses, bacteria, parasites and haptens carried by these immunogens. The character "quantitative Ab responsiveness" is controlled by several independently segregating loci (polygenic regulation). The major genetic modification is produced at the level of macrophage activities. The Ag is slowly catabolized and persists for a long time on the macrophage membrane of the H line, whereas it is rapidly destroyed in L line macrophages. The bactericidal and bacteriostatic activity of the macrophage is also strong in the L line and weak in the H line. The opposite genetic regulation of Ab responsiveness and macrophage activity is a fundamental phenomenon for understanding natural and vaccination-induced anti-infectious immunity. The L line is more resistant than the H line against the infections due to intracellular microorganisms (Salmonellae, Yersinia, Mycobacteria, Brucellae, Leishmania) where the macrophage plays the dominant defensive barrier. The H line is more resistant than the L line to the extracellular microorganisms which are efficiently counteracted by a strong antibody response (Pneumococcus, Klebsiella, Plasmodia, Trypanosoma). The intensity of T cell-mediated immunity as measured by delayed type hypersensitivity, which is independent of the genetic regulation of antibody responsiveness, is correlated with the degree of non-specific inflammation produced at the site of the reaction by the Ag injection in non-sensitized mice. The intensity of the non-specific inflammatory reactions to an inert substrate presents a continuous phenotypic variation in inbred lines of mice. Therefore this character is subject to polygenic regulation. The inflammatory reaction constitutes one of the most important non-specific components of immunity. We have therefore initiated a selective breeding experiment to produce lines of mice endowed with maximal and minimal intensity of non-specific inflammatory reactions. This model of selective breeding is described. © 1987.


Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days.
Page views


  • doi: 10.1016/0165-2478(87)90149-0 (Google search)
  • issn: 01652478
  • sgr: 0023472401
  • scopus: 2-s2.0-0023472401
  • pui: 217165579

Related files

Add a file