The mammalian immune system protects individuals from infection and disease. It is a complex system of interacting cells and molecules, which has been studied extensively to investigate its detailed function, principally using laboratory mice. Despite the complexity of the immune system, it is often analysed using a restricted set of immunological parameters. Here we have sought to generate a system-wide view of the murine immune response, which we have done by undertaking a network analysis of 120 immune measures. To date, there has only been limited network analyses of the immune system. Our network analysis identified a relatively low number of communities of immune measure nodes. Some of these communities recapitulate the well-known T helper 1 vs. T helper 2 cytokine polarisation (where ordination analyses failed to do so), which validates the utility of our approach. Other communities we detected show apparently novel juxtapositions of immune nodes. We suggest that the structure of these other communities might represent functional immunological units, which may require further empirical investigation. These results show the utility of network analysis in understanding the functioning of the mammalian immune system.
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