Differences in innate immune response between man and mouse

Crit Rev Immunol. 2014;34(5):433-54.


Mouse strains are frequently used to model human disease states, to test the efficiency of drugs and therapeutic principles. However, the direct translation of murine experimental data to human pathological events often fails due to sufficient differences in the organization of the immune system of both species. Here we give a short overview of the principle differences between mice and humans in defense strategies against pathogens and mechanisms involved in response to pathogenic microorganisms and other activators of the immune system. While in human blood mechanisms of immune resistance are highly prevailed, tolerance mechanisms dominate for the defense against pathogenic microorganisms in mouse blood. Further on, species-related differences of immune cells mainly involved in innate immune response as well as differences to maintain oxidative homeostasis are also considered. A number of disease scenarios in mice are critically reflected for their suitability to serve as a model for human pathologies. Due to setbacks in these studies, novel mouse models were created to bridge the immune system of both species: humanized mice. Accordingly, a special section of this review is devoted to new results applying humanized mouse models taking limitations and prospects into account.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Species Specificity