Phosphorylcholine: friend or foe of the immune system?

Immunol Today. 1999 Mar;20(3):125-9. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5699(98)01419-4.


Phosphorylcholine (PC) is a structural component of a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens. In some cases, PC in infectious agents can benefit the infected host due to its targeting by both the innate and adaptive immune responses. However, as discussed here, PC exhibits a surprising range of immunomodulatory properties that might be to the detriment of the host.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Cells / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Active*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Phosphorylcholine / immunology*
  • Phosphorylcholine / metabolism
  • Prokaryotic Cells / chemistry


  • Cytokines
  • Phosphorylcholine