Recent advances in comparative immunology have established that invertebrates produce hypervariable molecules probably related to immunity, suggesting the possibility of raising a specific immune response. "Priming" and "tailoring" are terms now often associated with the invertebrate innate immunity. Comparative immunologists contributed to eliminate the idea of a static immune system in invertebrates, making necessary to re-consider the evolutive meaning of immunological memory of vertebrates. If the anticipatory immune system represents a maximally efficient immune system, why can it be observed only in vertebrates, especially in consideration that molecular hypervariability exists also in invertebrates? Using well-established theories concerning the evolution of the vertebrate immunity as theoretical basis we analyze from an Eco-immunology-based perspective why a memory-based immune system may have represented an evolutive advantage for jawed vertebrates. We hypothesize that for cold-blooded vertebrates memory represents a complimentary component that flanks the robust and fundamental innate immunity. Conversely, immunological memory has become indispensable and fully exploited in warm-blooded vertebrates, due to their stable inner environment and high metabolic rate, respectively.
Life is a huge compromise: Is the complexity of the vertebrate immune-neuroendocrine system an advantage or the price to pay? / Malagoli, Davide; Ottaviani, Enzo. - In: COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY. PART A, MOLECULAR & INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY. - ISSN 1095-6433. - STAMPA. - 155:(2010), pp. 134-138. [10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.10.031]