The following are excerpts from Bayer's excellent report: “Innate Immunity: Definition and Importance.” 2015. Leverkusen, Germany: Bayer AG.

Innate Immunity.

"An animal’s innate immunity is responsible for attempting to block pathogens from replicating before they can cause disease. Innate immunity is activated immediately after a pathogen penetrates the physical barriers and provides a non-specific response (innate immune response) that acts against a broad range of different pathogens.

Innate and Adaptive Immunity.

"The innate immune system is complex and comprises biochemical and cellular pathways whose function is to recognize and actively remove invading pathogens, and to activate adaptive immunity."


The role of the innate immune response in animal health.

A crucial role of the animal’s innate immune system is the activation of further immune responses, specifically, adaptive immunity – without stimulation by innate immune cells, there would be no highly specific, long-lasting adaptive immune response.


The Innate Immune System in more Detail.

The innate immune system consists of a network of cells and molecules that work together to fight off invading pathogens. This includes dendritic cells, macrophages, mast cells and neutrophils – all of which are phagocytes. A phagocyte is a type of innate immune cell that ingests and degrades pathogens. In order to do this, phagocytes express receptors that detect pathogen- associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMPs are molecular structures that are not present in vertebrates (e.g. mammals and birds) but are found on microorganisms. The presence of PAMPs allows innate immune cells to recognize pathogens as ‘non-self’.


The Inflammatory Response Helps Immune Cells Reach the Site of Infection.

Neutrophils arrive at the infection site first, followed by monocytes and immature dendritic cells (DCs). Once there, certain chemokines and complement proteins can cause activation of these immune cells. The activated immune cells are equipped to fight the infection through phagocytosis.

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