Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System, 5e
The fifth edition of Basic Immunology has been revised to include recent important advances in our understanding of the immune system and to organize and present information in order to maximize its usefulness to students and teachers.
The previous editions have been enthusiastically received by students in the many courses that we and our colleagues teach, and we have not wavered from the guiding principles on which the book has been based through all the past editions. Our experience as immunology teachers and course directors has helped us to judge the amount of detailed information that can be usefully included in introductory medical school and undergraduate courses and the value of presenting the principles of immunology in a succinct
and clear manner. We believe a concise and modern consideration of immunology is now a realistic goal, largely because immunology has matured as a discipline and has now reached the stage when the essential components of the immune system and how they interact in immune responses are understood quite well. As a result, we can now teach our students, with reasonable confidence, how the immune system works. In addition, we are better able to relate experimental results, using simple models, to the more complex but physiologically relevant issue of host defense against infectious pathogens. There has also been exciting progress in applying basic principles to understanding and treating human diseases.
This book has been written to address the perceived needs of both medical school and undergraduate curricula and to take advantage of the new understanding of immunology. We have tried to achieve several goals. First, we have presented the most important principles governing the function of the immune system by synthesizing key concepts from the vast amount of experimental data that emerge in the field of immunology. The choice of what is most important is based largely on what is most clearly established by scientific investigation and what has the most relevance to human health and disease.
We also have realized that in any concise discussion of complex phenomena it is inevitable that exceptions and caveats cannot be discussed in any detail. Second, we have focused on immune responses against infectious microbes, and most of our discussions of the immune system are in this context. Third, we have made liberal use of illustrations to highlight important principles, but we have reduced factual details that may be found in more comprehensive textbooks. Fourth, we have also discussed immunologic diseases from the perspective of principles, emphasizing their relation to normal immune responses and avoiding details of clinical syndromes and treatments.
We have included selected clinical cases in an appendix to illustrate how the principles of immunology may be applied to common human diseases. Finally, in order to make each chapter readable on its own, we have repeated key ideas in different places in the book. We feel such repetition will help students to grasp the most important concepts.
We hope that students will find this new edition of Basic Immunology clear, cogent, manageable, and enjoyable to read. We hope the book will convey our sense of wonder about the immune system and excitement about how the field has evolved and how it continues to grow in relevance to human health and disease. Finally, although we were spurred to tackle this project because of our associations with medical school courses, we hope the book will be valued by students of allied health and biology as well. We will have succeeded if the book can answer many of the questions these students have about the immune system and, at the same time, encourage them to delve even more deeply into immunology.
Several individuals played key roles in the writing of this book. Our new editor, James Merritt, has been an enthusiastic source of encouragement and advice. Our talented illustrators, David and Alexandra Baker of DNA Illustrations, have revamped all of the artwork for this new edition and have transformed our ideas into pictures that are informative and aesthetically pleasing. Clay Broeker has moved the book through the production process in an efficient and professional manner.
Our development editor, Rebecca Gruliow, has kept the project organized and on track despite pressures of time and logistics. To all of them we owe our many thanks. Finally, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our families, whose support and encouragement have been unwavering.
Abul K. Abbas
Andrew H. Lichtman
|December 22, 2017
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