"From terra firma to terra plana –

danger is shaking the foundations: deconstructing the immune system"

This page includes a brief synopsis of the article "From terra firma to terra plana – danger is shaking the foundations. Deconstructing the 'immune system'." It was published in 1999.

PubMed entry

Reproductions of the article

Synopsis and main points


Please note that reference 6 was left out in the published article. Therefore, in the original, references number 6 to 18 in the bibliography should read 7 to 19 (in the body of the article the numbers are correctly presented). Reference 6 is in "A Sense of Self " . Please also note that there is also a "lapse of concentration" error at the top of page 216 (first paragraph where "irritable" bowel disease should read "inflammatory" bowel disease.

Things that I would (now) want to change:

In the section "Towards the apotheosis" I have put the following bullet point which would be better stated in the second (italicised) version:

It should also be emphasised that macrophages and other phagocytes act rather like primitive free living amoebae. In common with amoebae, phagocytes retain a primordially acquired capacity to recognise and ingest organic debris and micro–organisms; this is their original "diet"; it is their source of energy and nutrition. All specific microbe recognition arises from this primordial property and this is why phagocytes are recruited to the sites of damage (inflammation) to be first destructive and then constructive (the M2 phenotypes).