Sunday, August 30, 2015


(By: Glenn Taylor)

In order to live healthy and happy lives, all of us share almost similar health goals regardless of gender and age. These goals might include a healthy digestive system, robust mental and physical health, low cholesterol, stable weight, and a strong cardiovascular system. 

Out of all the common health goals, the most important one that everyone strives for is to maintain a strong immune system in order to fend off diseases and infections.

Immune System and Immunity: The immune system is the natural defense mechanism of the body consisting of different cells, tissues, and organs that work simultaneously to provide protection to the body. Leukocytes are divided into phagocytes and lymphocytes that are further divided into other cell types depending upon their function. 

The human body has the ability to get rid of different unwanted invasions, to avoid autoimmune diseases and allergies. This is termed as immunity i.e. the balanced state where biological defense of the body is fully functional and working actively. 

There exist two types of immunity, namely humoral immunity and cell mediated immunity. In humoral immunity, white blood cells kill off any foreign objects that enter into the blood stream of the body. Whereas, in cellular immunity, white blood cells kill off those cells of the body which are already infected or exhibit abnormal behavior.  

Cellular Immunity: This type of immunity does not involves any antibodies, rather it is related to the activation of antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the production of different cytokines as a result of antigen. 

The antigen specific cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes induce apoptosis among body cells that indicate the presence of foreign objects on their surface like viruses and disease. Macrophages are also activated which kill off these infected cells by destroying pathogens.
Moreover, cellular immunity also triggers other cells to produce various cytokines which stimulates other cells involved in innate and adaptive immune responses. Cellular immunity is also responsible for tissue rejection i.e. it causes severe reactions within the body if any foreign tissue or organ is being transported into the body.

Working of Immune System: When any foreign object enters into the body, various cells work in collaboration to identify this foreign object and produce response accordingly. These cells stimulate B lymphocytes to start producing antibodies so that they can attack the specific antigens.

Antibodies can attach to the antigens but they cannot destroy it and for this purpose T lymphocytes are present. Once these antibodies are produced, they stay within the human body, so that if the same antigens reenter into the body, the immune system will be able to prevent the infection by following the same course. 
In addition to this, the immune system also allows infected organs to restore their functions and regenerate lost cells due to any infection or condition like injury. This way all the organs of the body including kidney, liver, heart, and lungs all keep working properly and effectively. 



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Parham, P. (2014). The immune system. Garland Science.