Immunology is the study of how our bodies respond to things that aren’t normally there. The immune system is the network of organs, cells, and processes that identify and fight against harmful microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and parasites. In this blog post, we explore immunology from A-Z with explanations of different immune system cells such as B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes as well as their roles in the body. We also explore why vaccination is so important in preventing illness and what happens when your immune system doesn’t work properly.
A is for Antibody
An antibody is a type of protein produced by the B cell lymphocytes. It’s a key part of your body’s defense system, working to alert the rest of your immune cells to the presence of a foreign substance, such as a pathogen. If a pathogen enters your body, antibodies work to identify it and neutralize it. Antibodies are produced by B cells, which are a type of lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell. B cells produce antibodies, which are proteins that defend the body against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
B is for B cell
B cells are a type of lymphocyte. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that aids and supports the immune system in fighting off diseases and infections. B cells produce antibodies, which are proteins that defend the body against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. B cells are produced in the bone marrow and travel to the lymph nodes and spleen where they mature and wait for a pathogen to enter the body. Once they detect a pathogen, they produce antibodies to neutralize it.
T is for T cell
T cells are a type of lymphocyte that, along with antibodies, aids and supports the immune system in fighting off diseases and infections. T cells are produced in the thymus gland and travel to the lymph nodes and spleen where they mature and wait for a pathogen to enter the body. Once they detect a pathogen, they produce cytokines, which are proteins that hinder the pathogen’s ability to reproduce and destroy it.
What do these immune system cells do?
B cells produce antibodies to fight off pathogens by neutralizing them. T cells produce cytokines to fight off pathogens by hindering their reproduction and destroying them. Many different types of immune cells work together to keep your body healthy. B cells and T cells are two of these cells, and they work together to keep your body healthy. B cells produce antibodies to fight off pathogens, and T cells produce cytokines to fight off pathogens. If one or more of these cells doesn’t work as they should, your body will have trouble fighting off infections and diseases.
An autoimmune disease is when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's cells and tissues. A major trigger in the development of an autoimmune disease is an overactive immune system due to genetics. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Although there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, there are many treatments that can help manage the symptoms.
Immune Response Basics
The immune system is separated into two basic components, the innate (non-specific) immune system, and the adaptive (specific) immune system. The innate immune system is responsible for immediate responses to infection and is always active, meaning it is constantly monitoring the body for signs of infection. On the other hand, the adaptive immune system is responsible for the specific response to foreign invaders, like vaccination or a pathogen. Here are the basics of how the immune system works.
Identification - The immune system identifies pathogens and foreign substances in the body. Pathogen destruction - The immune system then destroys any pathogens that have been identified.
Immune memory - If the same pathogen is ever identified again, the immune system remembers it and responds much more quickly.
Vaccination: why it’s so important
Vaccination is a tool that uses a small amount of a substance that could cause disease to stimulate an immune response without causing illness. Vaccination is critical for preventing illness and death from infectious diseases such as chickenpox, flu, measles, and pertussis. Vaccines work by introducing a small amount of the disease-causing microbe into the body, which triggers an immune response. The immune system creates antibodies to attack the disease-causing microbe. After you’ve been vaccinated, you have antibodies in your blood that can fight off the disease. These antibodies can stay in your blood for years, even after you’ve stopped getting vaccinations.
Every day, your immune system fights off thousands of infections. You may not even notice it's working because it’s designed to keep you healthy without any side effects. Unfortunately, there are many potential triggers for a breakdown in the immune system, from aging and genetics to lifestyle choices like smoking or drinking too much. Because the immune system is complex and unique, it is best to speak with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about possible immune system breakdown.