The Immune system mechanism and functions

The inner setting of the human body gives attractive conditions for the development of bacteria, infections, and also various other organisms. The colossal task of keeping the body secure from outside and inside assaults comes from the body’s immune system. Although several of these microorganisms can live symbiotically within humans, several either reason the destruction of cells or generate hazardous chemicals.

To shield versus these foreign intruders, 3 lines of protection are used:

  1. Nonspecific barriers that prevent the entry of intruders, and both nonspecific and specific defenses versus invaders inside the body.
  2. Nonspecific protection is a rapid response to a wide range of pathogens.
  3. Specific defense, delivered by the immune system, takes a number of days to install as well as target details intruders that escape the attack of the nonspecific defense.

Nonspecific Barriers                             

The skin as well as mucous membrane layers supply a nonspecific first line of protection versus invaders entering through the skin or through openings right into the body.

Skin is a physical and hostile barrier covered with oily and acidic (pH from 3 to 5) secretions from skin glands (sebaceous, sweat) specifically. The antimicrobial healthy proteins (such as lysozyme, which breaks down the cell walls of microorganisms) are included in saliva, tears, and also various other secretions found on mucous membranes.

Recommended read – Boost your immunity in the wake of COVID-19

Cilia that line the respiratory tubes offer to sweep invaders away from the lungs. Stomach secretions like gastric juices of the belly, by the action of hydrochloric acid or enzymes, kill most microbes. The symbiotic bacteria available in the digestion tract as well as the vaginal canal outcompete numerous various other microorganisms that could cause damages.

Nonspecific Defenses

The next type of defense consists of mechanisms or perhaps agents which indiscriminately challenge foreign invaders which are actually inside the body:

Phagocytes are white blood cells (leukocytes) that engulf microorganisms by phagocytosis. They consist of neutrophils, monocytes, as well as eosinophils. Monocytes enlarge right into big phagocytic cells called macrophages.

Related read – Hydrating drinks to boost your immunity

Natural killer cells (NK cells) are lymphocytes (White blood cells that mature in lymphoid tissues). NK cells eliminate pathogen‐infected body cells or abdominal body cells (such as lumps).

Complement proteins are a team of about 20 proteins that “complement” defense reactions. These healthy proteins help attract phagocytes to foreign cells and also assist damage foreign cells by promoting cell lysis (breaking open the cell).

Interferons (IFNs) are substances secreted by cells invaded by viruses that promote nearby cells to produce proteins that help them resist the viruses. Specific IFNs (such as gamma‐IFN) also intensify the task of macrophages and also NK cells.

Must read – Factors affecting immune system of your body

The inflammatory response is a series of nonspecific events that happen in reaction to microorganisms. The response normally generates inflammation, swelling, heat, as well as discomfort in the target location, and also often the area is disabled.

When skin is harmed, for instance, and germs, various other organisms, or harmful materials get in the body, the following occasions take place:

1. A chemical alarm system is generated in the injured location. Wounded cells as well as close-by circulating cells release chemicals that start defensive actions and appear an alarm system to various other defense mechanisms. These chemicals consist of histamine (primarily secreted by basophils, white blood cells located in connective tissues), kinins, prostaglandins (PGs), and also complement proteins.

2. Vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels), stimulated by histamine and also other chemicals, enhances blood supply to the damaged area. This triggers tin redness and a rise in the temperature level. The boost in temperature level stimulates leukocyte as well as makes the atmosphere unwelcoming to pathogens.

3. Vascular permeability in the structure increases in action to alarm system chemicals. Because of this, white blood cells, clotting factors, as well as body fluids relocate more quickly via blood vessel walls and also into the hurt area. The increase in body fluids creates regional edema (swelling). Edema may generate pain if nearby nerve endings experience pressure. Pain might also take place when nerve endings are exposed to bacterial toxins, kinins, and also prostaglandins. (Aspirin minimizes pain by inhibiting the manufacturing of prostaglandins).

4. Phagocytes get to the site of injury and engulf viruses and harmed cells. Phagocytes find the site of injury by chemotaxis, the activity of cells in response to chemical gradients (offered below by alarm chemicals).

5. Complement proteins aid phagocytes swallow up foreign cells and stimulate basophils to release histamine.

Suggested read – 10 small tips to improve health

Fever is a complete body response to infection characterized by elevated body temperature levels. An elevated temperature enhances cellular metabolism (increasing cellular repairs), intensifies the effect of alarm chemicals, as well as develops an aggressive environment for bacteria. An excessively high fever may reduce the task of enzymes needed for mobile metabolism, hence causing the body to go further out of homeostasis.

The Immune System

The body’s immune system is the third line of protection. It includes mechanisms as well as agents that target particular antigens (Ags). An antigen is any kind of molecule, generally, a healthy protein or polysaccharide that can be determined as foreign(nonself) or self (such as MHC antigens). It may be a toxin, a part of the protein coat of a virus, or a molecule distinct to the plasma membrane layers of germs, protozoa, pollen, or other foreign cells. As soon as the foreign antigen is recognized, an agent is released that targets that particular antigen.

In the process of placing effective protection, the immune system completes 5 tasks (1):

Recognition. The antigen or cell is identified as nonself. To distinguish self from nonself, a unique molecule on the plasma membrane of cells called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is made use of as a means of identification.

Lymphocyte selection. The primary defending cells of the immune system are certain white blood cells called lymphocytes. The body’s immune system possibly possesses billions of lymphocytes, each equipped to target various antigens. When an antigen, or nonself cell, binds to a lymphocyte, the lymphocyte multiplies, creating various daughter cells, all identical duplicates of the parent cell. This procedure is called clonal selection because the lymphocyte to which the antigen efficiently binds is “selected” as well as consequently reproduces to make clones, or identical copies, of it.

Related – Powerful morning routines to stay strong

Lymphocyte activation. The binding of an antigen or foreign cell to a lymphocyte may activate the lymphocyte and also initiate proliferation. Most of the time, however, a costimulator is needed before proliferation begins. Costimulators might be chemicals or other cells.

The destruction of the foreign substance. Lymphocytes and also antibodies destroy or immobilize the foreign substance. Nonspecific defense mechanisms (phagocytes, NK cells) aid removes the invader.

Memorization. Long‐lived “memory” lymphocytes are created and also can quickly recognize as well as respond to future direct exposures to the antigen or foreign cell.


The key agents of the immune reaction are lymphocytes, leukocyte (white blood cells) that originate in the bone marrow (like all blood cells) yet concentrate in lymphoid tissues such as the lymph nodes, the thymus gland, and the spleen.

Know more about your digestive system and its function

When lymphocytes mature, they become immunocompetent, or efficient in binding with a specific antigen. An immunocompetent lymphocyte presents unique proteins on its plasma membrane layer that act as antigen receptors. Due to the fact that every one of the antigen receptors of a specific lymphocyte is identical, just a particular antigen can bind to an individual lymphocyte.

The type of antigen receptors shown by a specific lymphocyte is identified by somatic recombination, a shuffling of gene segments throughout lymphocyte maturation. By mixing gene segments, more than one billion various antigen receptors can be generated.

Here are the various kinds of lymphocytes:

B cells (B lymphocytes) are lymphocytes that originate and mature in the bone marrow. The antigen receptors of B cells bind to freely circulating antigens. When B cells encounter antigens that bind to their antigen-binding sites, the B cells proliferate, producing two kinds of daughter cells, plasma cells, and memory cells:

  • Plasma cells are daughter cells of B cells. Each plasma cell releases antibodies, proteins that have the same antigen-binding capability as the antigen receptors of its parent B cell. Antibodies circulate through the body, binding to the specific antigens that stimulated the proliferation of plasma cells.
  • Memory B cells are long‐lived daughter cells of B cells that, like plasma cells, produce antibodies. However, memory cells do not release their antibodies in response to the immediate antigen invasion. Instead, the memory cells circulate in the body and respond quickly to eliminate any subsequent invasion by the same antigen. This mechanism provides immunity to many diseases after the first occurrence of the disease.

T cells (T lymphocytes) are lymphocytes that originate in the bone marrow but mature in the thymus gland. The antigen receptors of T cells bind to self cells that display foreign antigens (with MHC proteins) on their plasma membrane. When T cells bind to these aberrant self cells, they divide and produce the following kinds of daughter cells:

You must know these 21 foods to boost your energy

  • Cytotoxic T cells (killer T cells) are activated when they recognize antigens that are mixed with the MHC‐I proteins of self cells. Following activation, cytotoxic cells proliferate and destroy the recognized cells by producing toxins that puncture them, thus causing them to lyse.
  • Helper T cells are activated when they recognize antigens that are mixed with the MHC‐II proteins of self cells. Proliferation produces helper T cells that intensify antibody production of B cells. Helper T cells also secrete hormones called cytokines that stimulate the proliferation of B cells and T cells.
  • Suppressor T cells are believed to be involved in winding down a successful immune response and in preventing the attachment of uninfected self cells.
  • Memory T cells are long‐lived cells possessing the same antigen receptors as their parent T cell. Like memory B cells, they provide a rapid defense to any subsequent invasion by the same antigen.


Antibodies are proteins that bind to particular antigens. B cells, situated in lymphoid cells, release the antibodies, which after that flow in the blood plasma, lymph, or extracellular fluids. Some antibodies move to other areas of the body, such as the respiratory tract or the placenta, or get in different body secretions, such as saliva, sweat, and also milk. The additional properties of antibodies include the following:

  • There are five classes of antibodies (or immunoglobulins): IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM. Antibodies circulating in the blood are primarily IgG, IgA, and IgM; IgD and a second form of IgM antibodies are found on the plasma membranes of B cells, where they act as antigen receptors. IgE antibodies attach to basophils and mast cells (both white blood cells found in connective tissue) and induce them to secrete histamine.
  • The basic structure of an antibody is a Y‐shaped protein that consists of constant and variable regions. The variable regions are sequences of amino acids that differ among antibodies and give them specificity to antigens.
  • Antibodies bind to antigens, thus forming an antigen‐antibody complex. This complex attracts macrophages, which will phagocytize any foreign substance that has that specific antigen‐antibody complex. The formation of these complexes may also cause agglutination (clumping) of antigens or foreign cells.

Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immune Responses

The immune system differentiates two groups of foreign substances. One group contains antigens that are easily circulating in the body. These consist of molecules, viruses, and foreign cells. A second group contains self cells that display aberrant MHC healthy proteins.

Related – Know your Nervous system and its function

Aberrant MHC proteins can originate from antigens that have been engulfed and broken down (exogenous antigens) or from virus‐infected and tumor cells that are actively synthesizing foreign proteins (endogenous antigens). Depending on the kind of foreign invasion, two different immune responses occur:

  • The Humoral immunity produces antibodies against the antigens which are present outside the infected cells or free circulating in the blood. This immunity type shows a quick response against the pathogens and is associated with the B-lymphocytes and is responsible for destroying the pathogens by producing antibodies against it.
  • Cell-mediated immunity works inside the infected cells, where it destroyed the pathogens or microorganisms by the process of lysis by releasing cytokines. This immunity type is slow in action and is associated with the T-lymphocytes and is responsible for destroying the pathogens or microorganism which has invaded the cells.