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THE IMMUNOLOGICAL RESPONSE

It results from the introduction of an Ag into the body . The immune response may be : 1. Non-specific : as inflammation and phagocytosis. 2. Specific or adaptive : and this may be humoral or cellular. The specific immune Response : Cells involved in the specific immune response : 1.Macrophages They are phagocytic cells which are mainly concerned with processing and presentation of the Ags to the lymphocytes and so they are called the antigen presenting cells . They can also secrete cytokines e.g. interleukin-1 (IL-1). 2.Lymphocytes They originate from a stem cell in the bone marrow and they include: T-lymphocytes or T-cells which mature in the microenviroment of the thymus, They are responsible for the cell-mediated immunity.T-cells can be subdivided into : Helper/inducer subsets (CD4 + Cells) Suppressor/cytotoxic subsets (CD4 + Cells) B-lymphocytes or B-cells which mature in the bone marrow and do not pass by the thymus . They are responsible for the humoral immunity

The major events taking place in the specific immune response are: 1.Antigen processing and presentation The antigen presenting cell (e.g. macrophage) takes up the foreign antigen, internalizes it, and breaks it into small fragments, then presents it in a simple form on its surface complexed with MHC class II molecule to be recognized by the receptor on the surface of the specific T-helper cell .The macrophage also secretes IL-T which activates the Thelper cell. Other cells can also act as antigen presenting cells such as Langerhans cells of the skin, dendritic cells , and B lymphocytes. 2.Activation of the T-helper cell The T-helper cell is activated when it recognizes its specific antigen presented to it by the antigen presenting cell and also by the cytokines produced by the macrophage , It undergoes proliferation and produces a number of cytokines (e.g. IL-2,IL-4 and IL-6 ) which act on other cells of the immune system as T-cytotoxic cells , B-cells and macrophages causing their proliferation and activation. 3.Activation of T-cytotoxic cells T-cytotoxic cells become activated when they recognize their antigen on the surface of a target cell , complexed with MHC class I moleculeand also by the effect of cyto kines produced by the activated T-helper cell . The activated T-cytotoxic cell then releases cytotoxins which kill the target cell e.g. virus-infected , tumour cell. This represents the cellular or cell-mediated immune response. 4.Activation of B-cells When B-cells recognize their specific antigen by surface membrane Ig receptors , and are acted upon by the cytokines released by the activated T-helper cells, thei will become activated and will

undergo proliferation and differentiation into antibody producing plasma cells . these cells will secrete antibodies specific to the antigen which induced the reponse . These antibodies can lyse bacteria or prepare them for phagocytosis by osponisation , they can neutralize toxins and can neutralize viruses rendering them non-effective . This represents the humoral or antibody-mediated immune response. 5.Some activated B and T-cells become MEMORY CELLS which can respond to subsequent encounters with the same antigen . 6. The usual outcome of the immune response is the ELIMINATION OF THE OFFENDING ANTIGEN . After that the response is down-regulated by suppressor T-cells to prevent unnecessary activation of lymphocytes and unregulated production of antibodies .