I was reading about immune privilege in a paper called Immune Privilege of Heart Valves by Hill et al.

Immune privilege is summarised as follows:

Immune privilege is an evolutionary adaptation that protects vital tissues with limited regenerative capacity from collateral damage by the immune response. Classical examples include the anterior chamber of the eye and the brain. More recently, the placenta, testes and articular cartilage were found to have similar immune privilege. What all of these tissues have in common is their vital function for evolutionary fitness and a limited regenerative capacity.

This is of significance in transplant rejection; immunosuppressive is not needed after allogenic heart valve transplants.

In the linked paper the authors theorise about the low cellular content (and thus low antigenicity) of heart valves (being made of collagen and other fibres) bring partly responsible.

How is this immune privilege achieved in a more general sense? Does it involve active or passive immunological factors?


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