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Chapter 36

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Immune system
• Allows body to
recognize its own
cells and to destroy
any cell or other
structure perceived as
“not self”
• Network of cells,
defensive chemicals,
and fluids that
permeate the body
• Stem cells in bone
marrow give rise to
white blood cells
– Basophils release
chemicals that trigger
inflammation
– Neutrophils and
eosinophils function as
phagocytes
– Monocytes leave the
bloodstream to
become macrophages
– Lymphocytes
• B cells and T cells
• Lymphocytes
– B cells
• Mature in bone
marrow
• Migrate to tissues
and blood
– T cells
• Originate in bone
marrow
• Mature in thymus
• Migrate throughout
body
– Part of specific
immune response
• Lymphatic system
roles
– Regulate tissue fluid
– Absorb fat in the small
intestine
– Defend the body
• Lymph – colorless
fluid in lymphatic
system
• Spleen – largest
lymphoid organ
• Lymph nodes may
swell in an infection
Innate defenses
• Provide rapid, broad defense against any
infectious agent
• Some elements can distinguish invading cells but
there is no memory to aid in future responses
• Physical barriers are the first line of defense
– Skin, mucus, tears, cilia, stomach acid
– Normal microflora on the skin and in the gut
• Inflammation
– Body’s immediate, localized reaction to an injury or
any pathogen that breaches the body’s barriers
– Recruits immune components, helps clear debris, and
creates a hostile environment for invaders
– Basophils and mast cells trigger inflammation
• Histamine dilates blood vessels
– Pus – white blood cells, bacteria, and debris
– Aspirin and ibuprofen reduce pain and swelling by
blocking the enzymes required for inflammation
• Innate chemicals
– Complement recognizes and punches holes in bacteria
– Interferons – cytokine released by cells infected with a virus
– Interleukins – cytokine released by white blood cells – one type
activates B and T cells
Adaptive
immunity
• Recognize and remember
specific pathogens
• Works with innate
defenses
• Antigen – any molecule
that stimulates response
from B and T cells
• Each B or T cell responds
to only 1 specific antigen
• Antibodies are made by B
cells in response to
antigens
• Generate huge
diversity in antigens
that can be
recognized through
genetic
recombination
• Countless lineages
produce a unique
antigen receptor and
antibody (B cells)
• Clonal deletion
– In huge diversity
generated, some may
respond to body’s
own cells
– Apoptosis weeds out
lymphocytes that
react to the body’s
tissues
– Occurs before birth
• Macrophages
– Participates in innate
defenses
– Triggers adaptive
immunity
– Engulfs pathogen,
dismantles it, links
antigen to self-protein
in macrophage
surface
– Antigen-presenting
cell
• Helper T cells
– “Master cells”
– Antigen-presenting
macrophage meets Helper
T cell specific to antigen
being displayed
– 2 cells bind
– Cell-mediated immunity
• Kill invaders by direct cell-
to-cell contact
• T cells
– Humoral immunity
• B cells make antibodies that
circulate in the blood
• T cells
– Cytotoxic T cell or killer T cells
– Cell-mediated immunity
– Binds to antigen on cell surface
– Release biochemical that cuts hole in invader’s cell
membrane
– Kills cells
• Infected with a virus
• Transplanted tissues
• Cancer cells
– Memory T cells help remember the specific triggering
antigen
• Next time the response is faster and stronger
• B cells
– Humoral response
– Each B cell makes a different antibody
– Passive immunity – antibodies received from
another
• Infants get antibodies in breast milk
– Active immunity – body makes its own
antibodies
• Antibodies or
immunoglobulins
– Circulate freely in blood,
lymph, and interstitial fluid
– Constant region – similar in
all antibody molecules
– Variable region –
determines specific target
antigen
– Binding to antigen can
inactivate microbe,
neutralize toxin, cause
clumping, attract
macrophages, coat viruses,
activate complement
• Clonal selection
– B cell dormant until
activated by specific
antigen
– Helper T cell
completes activation
– B cell divides rapidly
to form
• Memory cells – do not
make antibodies, last a
long time, wait for next
time antigen enters
body to react faster
and stronger
• Plasma cells – make
antibodies, do not last
very long
• Turning off the
immune system is as
important as turning it
on
• Negative feedback
turns off immune
system
• Suppressor T cells
reduce the number of
dividing B and T cells
• Primary immune response
– First reaction to an antigen
– Takes days or weeks to reach
effective levels
– Memory B and T cells are
produced
• Secondary immune
response
– Memory cells respond faster
and stronger
– Vaccines create this same
effect without risking an actual
infection
Immune disorders
• Weakened immune system leaves a person open to
opportunistic infection – pathogens that do not normally
infect people with healthy immune systems
• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
– Causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
– Targets helper T cells
– Symptoms appear when helper T cell count falls
• Severe combined immune deficiency (SCID)
– Inherited condition in which neither B or T cells function
– First patients to receive gene therapy
• May be produced by drugs so transplanted tissues are
not rejected
• Autoimmune disorders
– Immune system attacks the body’s “self antigens”
– Juvenile diabetes – pancreatic beta cells
– Rheumatoid arthritis – cells lining joints
– Systemic lupus – DNA
• Allergy
– Overly sensitive immune system reacts to harmless
substances
– Allergen – antigen triggering allergy
– Anaphylactic shock can be life-threatening
• In general, female immune system dampens during pregnancy
• Immune system of an Rh- woman (lacks RH antigen on red blood
cells) can destroy the blood of her Rh+ fetus
• Drug can be given to inactivate woman’s anti-RH+ antibodies
Investigating life: Sea urchins lead
researchers from RAGs to riches
• Looked for genes required for
vertebrate-style immune
system
• RAG (recombination activating
gene) used to shuffle DNA in
lymphocytes
• 2 RAG proteins interact in
vertebrates
• 2 sea urchin genes are very
similar
• Function remains a mystery
• Some part of our complex
immune system was already
present in our invertebrate
ancestors