The danger model: a renewed sense of self

Science. 2002 Apr 12;296(5566):301-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1071059.


For over 50 years immunologists have based their thoughts, experiments, and clinical treatments on the idea that the immune system functions by making a distinction between self and nonself. Although this paradigm has often served us well, years of detailed examination have revealed a number of inherent problems. This Viewpoint outlines a model of immunity based on the idea that the immune system is more concerned with entities that do damage than with those that are foreign.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Autoimmunity
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Fetus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Immunity*
  • Infections / immunology
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / physiology
  • Self Tolerance*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transplantation Tolerance


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Immunologic