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Immunity constitutes all the physiological mechanism which allow the
body to recognized materials as foreign to itself and to neutralize or
eliminate them.

1. Protection against microbes, viruses, bacteria, and other unicellular
and multicellular organism.
2. Elimination of worn out or damage body cells.
3. Immune surveillance (cancer)
4. Seems to be involved in the process of aging.
5. Major obstacle to successful transplantation of organs.

A. Non-specific defense mechanism
Example are:
1. phagocytes
2. lysozymes
3. basic polypeptides
4. properdin
5. interferons

B. Specific immune mechanism
1) Humoral immunity (antibodies)
2) Cell-mediated immunity (sensitized lymphocytes)

Non specific defense mechanism do not depend upon previous exposure to
the particular foreign substance without having to recognize their specific
identities. They are particularly important during the initial exposure to a
foreign organism before the specific immune responses have been activated.

Specific immune responses – Depend upon prior exposure to the specific
foreign substances recognition of it upon subsequent exposure and reaction
to it.
Some basic Definition:

1. Antigen - any substance capable of provoking an immune response of
any type in an immunologically – component vertebrate.
Antigens occurring in nature are substances of high molecular
weight and usually are proteins or CHO.

2. Hapten - any incomplete antigen, ex. Any substance not of itself capable
of provoking an immune response but able to serve as a partial
antigen when bound to another substance. Haptens are usually
of low molecular weight and may be of relatively simple

3. Antibodies – plasma proteins synthesized in (humoral) immune response
which are capable of combining with the provoking antigens.

4. Cellular Specificity – immune cells like antibodies, have a maximal
reactivity with the specific antigen and lessening reactivity with
decreasingly related compound.

5. The immune system – This term is used synonymously with term
lymphoid system. Encompasses the system of the body which is
responsible for all types of immune responses.

6. The “T-cell” division – defined functionally as the system
responsible for the expression of cellular immunity. This division
requires the presence of a thymus gland during embryogenesis for
its development and maturation.

7. The “B cell” division define functionally as the division responsible for
the expression of humoral immunity. In birds, the system depends
on a hindgut lymphoid organ termed the Bursa of Fabricus for its
development and maturation. In mammals, a tissue system of gut
associated lymphoid tissue and /or bone marrow cells appear to
serve as a Bursa – equivalent.
Differences between B-cell and T-cell

- confer specific immune resistance against bacteria

- Major carriers of specific immunity against fungi, viruses, parasites
and few bacteria which to survive must live inside cells.
- Destruction of cancer cells.
- Rejection of solid-tissue transplant.

Function of Antibodies:

1. Neutralization of antigens
2. Antigen – antibody precipitation
3. Agglutination of bacteria
4. Lysis of cellular structure
5. Opsonization

Antibodies are all composed of polypeptide chains and are identical
except for a relatively small number of amino acids occupying the
first positions in the chains. These differences constitute the
antibody’s specificity. Antibodies all belong to a family of proteins
known as gamma globulins and are also known as immunoglobulins.
Each immunoglobulin molecule consists of four polypeptide chains –
two heavy chains and two light chains. Each polypeptide chain is
intricately folded to form globular regions that are joined together in
such a way that the immunoglobulin molecule as a whole is Y-shaped.
Each light chain consists of 214 amino acids. Heavy chains consist of
446 amino acids, so are about twice as long and weight about twice as
much as light chains.

Immunoglobulins are subdivided into five classes according to
difference in chemical structure and biological function. These are
designated by the letters G,A,M,D,E after the symbolic Ig (for

Ig G – most abundant, can cross the placenta
has antibacterial, anti-viral, antitoxic activities in vivo

IgA – second most abundant
Chief Ig in exocrine secretion

IgM – strong cytolytic and complement-fixing for exceed IgG.
Found predominantly in intravascular pool, larger molecular size does
not tend to cross placenta.

IgE – has homocytotropic property
It mediates certain allergic responses.

IgD – present in the blood in very small amounts and its function is as yet

Complement a component of blood serum, consists of a set of several
proteins. They are inactive enzymes that are activated in a definite sequence
to catalyze an intricately linked series of reactions. The end result of this
rapid-fire activity is to produce cytolysis.

Like complement, properdin consists of a set of proteins present in
blood serum as inactive enzymes. When activated it can initiate the
complement series in addition to the usual antibody method of activating it.

It is another protein compound that plays a part in producing
immunity. It is synthesized by body cells under certain conditions, notably
after viruses have invaded them. Released from the cells that produce it,
interferon acts on other body cells to defend them against viruses. Recent
evidence suggests that interferon retards the growth of cancer cells.

Acquired Immunity Against Infectious Diseases.

Acquired immunity is that which an individual develops by exposure
to a foreign substance or organism or receives from some outside source. A
person who recovers from plague, cholera, yellow fever, or various other
diseases is usually immune from second attacks of the same disease.

1. Active immunity - is that produce by immunized individual in
response to natural or artificial stimulation of the antibody –
producing mechanisms. In addition to obvious clinical cases of
disease, unrecognized or inapparent infections may also induce

2. Passive immunity - is that form if immunity produced in an
individual from antibodies derived from another individual either by
natural transfer or by injection. It is only temporary lasting few weeks
to a few months, whereas active immunity is ordinarily more durable.

3. Adoptive immunity - is an immune state produced by the transfer of
antigen sensitive (primed) lymphocytes from an actively immunized
donor to a non-immune recipient.

Clinical Correlation:

A. Autoimmunity
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Rheumatic Heart Diseases
- Acute Glomerulonephritis
- Thyroiditis

B. Defects in Developments of Immune Systems
1. Failure of dymphocyte precursors to migrate to thymus, liver,
spleen ---- absence of cellular and humoral immunity.

2. Congenital absence of thymus --- absence of cellular
immunity out humoral immunity is normal.

3. Agammaglobulinemia
- B cells fail to develop
- susceptible to bacterial infections.