Author(s): Vollmers HP, Brndlein S
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Abstract Immunity is not only responsible for recognition and elimination of infectious particles, but also for removal of cellular waste, modified self structures and transformed cells. Innate or natural immunity acts as a first line defense and is also the link to acquired immunity and memory. A striking phenomenon of immunity against malignant cells is that neither in animals nor in humans affinity-maturated tumor-specific IgG antibodies have been detected so far. All tumor-specific isolated antibodies were germ-line coded natural IgM antibodies. It's also a fact that these IgM's preferentially bind to carbohydrate epitopes on post-transcriptionally modified surface receptors and that they all induce a cancer-specific apoptosis, by triggering the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. From an evolutionary point of view, this makes sense because cancer cells are not infectious, so there is no need for memory. Natural IgMs bind to conservative structures because they are coded by a limited set of genes and they use apoptosis, the "clean" way of killing, to avoid inflammatory processes.
This article was published in J Autoimmun
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access