Tx Immunology - Professor Richard Kirk 2023

Professor Richard Kirk
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Introduction to Transplant Immunology
The immune system has evolved to protect us from microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. The immune system is composed of several components include the physical barrier such as skin and the cellular and inflammatory responses. It is an extremely complex system with checks and balances to allow it to achieve its protective role without damaging the host. These range from tight control of HLA expression, the necessity for T & B cell interactions to initiate antibody production, to the functions of the regulatory T & B cells components. Whilst much is known, it is recognized that much more remains to be understood.

These same mechanisms however create a barrier to successful transplantation and our attempts to manipulate the immune system for the transplant recipient, at least for some, have implications with reduced immunity to infections and an increase in autoimmune diseases and malignancy.

These webpages, are based on my personal experience and understanding of immune mechanisms. The "Transplant Issues" section attempts to use a mechanistic approach to the common issues faced by transplant cardiologists, but inevitably my understanding of these mechanisms is incomplete and some of my explanations are hypotheses, rather than known facts.

Authors: Richard Kirk, Nathanya Baez Hernandez & Esmé Dijke
Updated: 20 June 2023
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