The danger theory: 20 years later

Front Immunol. 2012 Sep 17;3:287. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00287. eCollection 2012.


The self-non-self theory has dominated immunology since the 1950s. In the 1990s, Matzinger and her colleagues suggested a new, competing theory, called the "danger theory." This theory has provoked mixed acclaim: enthusiasm and criticism. Here we assess the danger theory vis-à-vis recent experimental data on innate immunity, transplantation, cancers and tolerance to foreign entities, and try to elucidate more clearly whether danger is well defined.

Keywords: cancer; danger; danger signals; immunity; inflammation; innate immunity; tolerance; transplantation.