The widening spectrum of immunological memory

Curr Opin Immunol. 2018 Oct:54:42-49. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2018.05.013. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


Immunological memory is broadly understood as the underlying mechanism by which an organism remembers previous encounters with pathogens, aberrant cells, or self-antigens to produce a more rapid or robust secondary response upon re-encounter. This phenomenon is widely accepted as the hallmark feature of the adaptive immune system. However, work within the last decade has continuously challenged this viewpoint and opened up the idea that immunological memory extends beyond just conventional B cells and T cells. Along with critical studies on natural killer cells, recent evidence suggest that innate B and T cells, innate lymphoid cells, and even myeloid cells are capable of varying degrees of immune memory. In this article, we review recent work describing memory-like features within the innate immune system, and provide evidence that immunological memory may be more nuanced than previously appreciated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology