Inborn errors of immunity to infection: the rule rather than the exception

J Exp Med. 2005 Jul 18;202(2):197-201. doi: 10.1084/jem.20050854.


The immune system's function is to protect against microorganisms, but infection is nonetheless the most frequent cause of death in human history. Until the last century, life expectancy was only approximately 25 years. Recent increases in human life span primarily reflect the development of hygiene, vaccines, and anti-infectious drugs, rather than the adjustment of our immune system to coevolving microbes by natural selection. We argue here that most individuals retain a natural vulnerability to infectious diseases, reflecting a great diversity of inborn errors of immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / genetics
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / immunology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / genetics*
  • Life Expectancy
  • Selection, Genetic