Since the ability of some cells to engulf particulate material was observed before Metchnikoff, he did not "discover" phagocytosis, as is sometimes mentioned in textbooks. Rather, he assigned to particle internalization the role of defending the host against noxious stimuli, which represented a new function relative to the previously recognized task of intracellular digestion. With this proposal, Metchnikoff built the conceptual framework within which immunity could finally be seen as an active host function triggered by noxious stimuli. In this sense, Metchnikoff can be rightly regarded as the father of all immunological sciences and not only of innate immunity or myeloid cell biology. Moreover, the recognition properties of his phagocyte fit surprisingly well with recent discoveries and modern models of immune sensing. For example, rather than assigning to immune recognition exclusively the function of eliminating nonself components (as others did after him), Metchnikoff viewed phagocytes as homeostatic agents capable of monitoring the internal environment and promoting tissue remodeling, thereby continuously defining the identity of the organism. No doubt, Metchnikoff's life and creativity can provide, still today, a rich source of inspiration.

The Phagocyte, Metchnikoff, and the Foundation of Immunology

TETI, Giuseppe
Primo
;
BIONDO, Carmelo;BENINATI, Concetta
Ultimo
2016-01-01

Abstract

Since the ability of some cells to engulf particulate material was observed before Metchnikoff, he did not "discover" phagocytosis, as is sometimes mentioned in textbooks. Rather, he assigned to particle internalization the role of defending the host against noxious stimuli, which represented a new function relative to the previously recognized task of intracellular digestion. With this proposal, Metchnikoff built the conceptual framework within which immunity could finally be seen as an active host function triggered by noxious stimuli. In this sense, Metchnikoff can be rightly regarded as the father of all immunological sciences and not only of innate immunity or myeloid cell biology. Moreover, the recognition properties of his phagocyte fit surprisingly well with recent discoveries and modern models of immune sensing. For example, rather than assigning to immune recognition exclusively the function of eliminating nonself components (as others did after him), Metchnikoff viewed phagocytes as homeostatic agents capable of monitoring the internal environment and promoting tissue remodeling, thereby continuously defining the identity of the organism. No doubt, Metchnikoff's life and creativity can provide, still today, a rich source of inspiration.
2016
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3085141
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