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The study of the molecular and cellular components that comprise the immune system, including their function and interaction, is the central science of immunology. The immune system has been divided into a more primitive innate immune system and, in vertebrates, an acquired or adaptive immune system.
The field concerning the interactions among cells and molecules of the immune system, and how such interactions contribute to the recognition and elimination of pathogens Humans (and vertebrates in general) possess a range of nonspecific mechanical and biochemical defences against routinely encountered bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi. The skin, for example, is an effective physical barrier to infection. Basic chemical defences are also present in blood, saliva, and tears, and on mucous membranes.
True protection stems from the host's ability to mount responses targeted to specific organisms, and to retain a form of “memory” that results in a rapid, efficient response toa given organism upon a repeat encounter. This more formal sense of immunity, termed adaptive immunity, depends upon the coordinated activities of cells and molecules of the immune system.
Autoimmune diseases can affect almost any part of the body, including the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels.
The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain, and swelling. How an autoimmune disease affects you depends on what part of the body is targeted. If the disease affects the joints, as in rheumatoid arthritis, you might have joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function. If it affects the thyroid, as in Graves’ disease and thyroiditis, it might cause tiredness, weight gain, and muscle aches. If it attacks the skin, as it does in scleroderma/systemic sclerosis, vitiligo, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), it can cause rashes, blisters, and color changes.Many autoimmune diseases don’t restrict themselves to one part of the body. For example, SLE can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, nerves, blood vessels, and more. Type 1 diabetes can affect your glands, eyes, kidneys, muscles, and more.
T cell: A type of white blood cell that is of key importance to the immune system and is at the core of adaptive immunity, the system that tailors the body's immune response to specific pathogens. The T cells are like soldiers who search out and destroy the targeted invaders. Immature T cells (termed T-stem cells) migrate to the thymus gland in the neck, where they mature and differentiate into various types of mature T cells and become active in the immune system in response to a hormone called thymosin and other factors. T-cells that are potentially activated against the body's own tissues are normally killed or changed ("down-regulated") during this maturational process. There are several different types of mature T cells. Not all of their functions are known. T cells can produce substances called cytokines such as the interleukins which further stimulate the immune response. T-cell activation is measured as a way to assess the health of patients with HIV/AIDS and less frequently in other disorders. T cell are also known as T lymphocytes. The "T" stands for "thymus" -- the organ in which these cells mature. As opposed to B cells which mature in the bone marrow. B cells, also known as B lymphocytes, are a type of white blood cell of the lymphocyte subtype. They function in the humoral immunity component of the adaptive immune system by secreting antibodies. Many B cells mature into what are called plasma cells that produce antibodies (proteins) necessary to fight off infections while other B cells mature into memory B cells. All of the plasma cells descended from a single B cell produce the same antibody which is directed against the antigen that stimulated it to mature. The same principle holds with memory B cells. Thus, all of the plasma cells and memory cells "remember" the stimulus that led to their formation. The maturation of B cells takes place in birds in an organ called the bursa of Fabric’s. B cells in mammals mature largely in the bone marrow. The B cell, or B lymphocyte, is thus an immunologically important cell. It is not thymus-dependent, has a short lifespan, and is responsible for the production of immunoglobulins. It expresses immunoglobulins on its surface.
The tumour is an important aspect of cancer biology that contributes to tumour initiation, tumour progression and responses to therapy. Cells and molecules of the immune system are a fundamental component of the tumour microenvironment. Importantly, therapeutic strategies can harness the immune system to specifically target tumour cells and this is particularly appealing owing to the possibility of inducing tumour-specific immunological memory, which might cause long-lasting regression and prevent relapse in cancer patients. The composition and characteristics of the tumour microenvironment vary widely and are important in determining the anti-tumour immune response. Immunotherapy is a new class of cancer treatment that works to harness the innate powers of the immune system to fight cancer. Because of the immune system's unique properties, these therapies may hold greater potential than current treatment approaches to fight cancer more powerfully, to offer longer-term protection against the disease, to come with fewer side effects, and to benefit more patients with more cancer
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and "remember" it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters. There are two basic types of vaccines: live attenuated and inactivated. The characteristics of live and inactivated vaccines are different, and these characteristics determine how the vaccine is used. Live attenuated vaccines are produced by modifying a disease-producing (“wild”) virus or bacteria in a laboratory.
Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function.Immunotherapy is treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. This can be done in a couple of ways:1)Stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells2)Giving you immune system components, such as man-made immune system proteinsSome types of immunotherapy are also sometimes called biologic therapy or biotherapy.
In the last few decades immunotherapy has become an important part of treating some types of cancer. Newer types of immune treatments are now being studied, and they’ll impact how we treat cancer in the future. Immunotherapy includes treatments that work in different ways. Some boost the body’s immune system in a very general way. Others help train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically. Immunotherapy works better for some types of cancer than for others. It’s used by itself for some of these cancers, but for others it seems to work better when used with other types of treatment.
Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans. Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. And others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild complaints may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.
Clinical Immunology has evolved over the past two decades from a predominant laboratory base to a combined clinical and laboratory specialty. The clinical work of Immunologists is largely out-patient based and involves primary immunodeficiency, allergy, autoimmune rheumatic disease and systemic vasculitis (jointly with Rheumatologists), joint pediatric clinics for children with immunodeficiency and allergy and immunoglobulin infusion clinics for patients with antibody deficiency. On the laboratory front, Consultant Immunologists are responsible for directing diagnostic immunology services and perform a wide range of duties including clinical liaison, interpretation and validation of results, quality assurance and assay development.
Immunodeficiency is a state in which the immune system's ability to fight infectious disease is compromised or entirely absent. Immunodeficiency disorders prevent your body from adequately fighting infections and diseases. An immunodeficiency disorder also makes it easier for you to catch viruses and bacterial infections in the first place. Immunodeficiency disorders are often categorized as either congenital or acquired. A congenital, or primary, disorder is one you were born with. Acquired, or secondary, disorders are disorders you get later in life. Acquired disorders are more common than congenital disorders. Immune system includes the following organs: spleen, tonsils, bone marrow, lymph nodes. These organs make and release lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells classified as B cells and T cells. B and T cells fight invaders called antigens. B cells release antibodies specific to the disease your body detects. T cells kill off cells that are under attack by disease. An immunodeficiency disorder disrupts your body’s ability to defend itself against these antigens. Types of immunodeficiency disorder are Primary immunodeficiency disorders & Secondary immunodeficiency disorders.
Primary immunodeficiency disorders are immune disorders you are born with. Primary disorders include:
X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA)
·Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)
·Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)
Secondary disorders happen when an outside source, such as a toxic chemical or infection, attacks your body. Severe burns and radiation also can cause secondary disorders.
Secondary disorders include: AIDS, cancers of the immune system such as leukemia, immune-complex diseases such as viral hepatitis, multiple myeloma.
Neuroimmunology, a branch of immunology that deals especially with the interrelationships of the nervous system and immune responses and auto immune disorders. Its deals with particularly fundamental and applied euro biology, neurology, neuropathology, neurochemistry, Neuro virology, neuroendocrinology, neuromuscular research, neuropharmacology and psychology, which involve either immunologic methodology (e.g. immunocytochemistry) or fundamental immunology (e.g. antibody and lymphocyte assays).
Reproductive immunology refers to a field of medicine that studies interactions (or the absence of them) between the immune system and components related to the reproductive system, such as maternal immune tolerance towards the fetus, or immunological interactions across the blood-testis barrier. The immune system refers to all parts of the body that work to defend it against harmful enemies. In people with immunological fertility problems their body identifies part of reproductive function as an enemy and sends Natural Killer (NK) cells to attack. A healthy immune response would only identify an enemy correctly and attack only foreign invaders such as a virus, parasite, bacteria etc. The concept of reproductive immunology is not widely accepted by all physicians. Those patients who have had repeated miscarriages and multiple failed IVF's find themselves exploring it's possibilities as the reason. With an increased amount of success among treating any potential immunological factors, the idea of reproductive immunology can no longer be overlooked. The failure to conceive is often due to immunologic problems that can lead to very early rejection of the embryo, often before the pregnancy can be detected by even the most sensitive tests. Women can often produce perfectly healthy embryos that are lost through repeated "mini miscarriages." This most commonly occurs in women who have conditions such as endometriosis, an under-active thyroid gland or in cases of so called "unexplained infertility." It has been estimated that an immune factor may be involved in up to 20% of couples with otherwise unexplained infertility. These are all conditions where abnormalities of the woman’s immune system may play an important role.
Microbial Immunology expects studies examining responses to any microbial agent, including viruses, bacteria and parasites. The Microbiology, Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology concentrate on the study of host-pathogen interactions at the molecular and cellular levels
Most parasites, by the nature of their continuous contact with the immune system, generate a prolific immune response. Unfortunately, much of this response is not protective, and some is harmful. Protective immunity in some infections is due to a combination of humoral and cellular immunity; in this circumstance parasites are coated with antibody which makes them susceptible to direct cytotoxicity by macrophages, eosinophil’s, and neutrophils. Antibody alone is protective against some other infections. Nonspecific and genetic factors are clearly important but are still undefined participants in the host response. The immune response may be pathogenic by inducing hypersensitivity, immunologically mediated fibrosis, or circulating immune complexes. Additionally, Parasites have evolved unique ways of protecting themselves from the immune system, including altering their antigenic coat and inducing immunosuppression. Attempts to isolate "host-protective" antigens in parasitic infections may lead to effective vaccine development
Autoimmunity is the system of immune responses of an organism against its own cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmunity is present to some extent in everyone and is usually harmless. However, autoimmunity can cause a broad range of human illnesses, known collectively as autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases occur when there is progression from benign autoimmunity to pathogenic autoimmunity. This progression is determined by genetic influences as well as environmental triggers. Autoimmunity is evidenced by the presence of autoantibodies (antibodies directed against the person who produced them) and T cells that are reactive with host antigens.
Current treatments for allergic and autoimmune disease treat disease symptoms or depend on non-specific immune suppression. Treatment would be improved greatly by targeting the fundamental cause of the disease, that is the loss of tolerance to an otherwise innocuous antigen in allergy or self-antigen in autoimmune disease (AID). Much has been learned about the mechanisms of peripheral tolerance in recent years. We now appreciate that antigen presenting cells (APC) may be either immunogenic or tolerogenic, depending on their location, environmental cues and activation state
Although medications available for allergy are usually very effective, they do not cure people of allergies. Allergen immunotherapy is the closest thing we have for a "cure" for allergy, reducing the severity of symptoms and the need for medication for many allergy sufferers. Allergen immunotherapy involves the regular administration of gradually increasing doses of allergen extracts over a period of years. Immunotherapy can be given to patients as an injection or as drops or tablets under the tongue (sublingual).Allergen immunotherapy changes the way the immune system reacts to allergens, by switching off allergy. The end result is that you become immune to the allergens, so that you can tolerate them with fewer or no symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy is not, however, a quick fix form of treatment. Those agreeing to allergen immunotherapy need to be committed to 3-5 years of treatment for it to work, and to cooperate with your doctor to minimize the frequency of side effects. Allergen immunotherapy is usually recommended for the treatment of potentially life threatening allergic reactions to stinging insects. Published data on allergen immunotherapy injections shows that venom immunotherapy can reduce the risk of a severe reaction in adults from around 60 % per sting, down to less than 10%. In Australia and New Zealand, venom immunotherapy is currently available for bee and wasp allergy. Jack Jumper Ant immunotherapy is available in Tasmania for Tasmanian residents. Allergen immunotherapy is often recommended for treatment of allergic rhinitis
Diagnostic Immunology. Immunoassays are laboratory techniques based on the detection of antibody production in response to foreign antigens. Antibodies, part of the humoral immune response, are involved in pathogen detection and neutralization.
Diagnostic immunology has considerably advanced due to the development of automated methods.New technology takes into account saving samples, reagents, and reducing cost.The future of diagnostic immunology faces challenges in the vaccination field for protection against HIV and as anti-cancer therapy. Modern immunology relies heavily on the use of antibodies as highly specific laboratory reagents. The diagnosis of infectious diseases, the successful outcome of transfusions and transplantations, and the availability of biochemical and hematologic assays with extraordinary specificity and sensitivity capabilities all attest to the value of antibody detection.Immunologic methods are used in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases and in the large number of immune-mediated diseases. Advances in diagnostic immunology are largely driven by instrumentation, automation, and the implementation of less complex and more standardized procedures.
Examples of such processes are as follows:
- miniaturization (use of microtiter plates to save samples and reagents),
- amplified immunoassays (chemiluminesent ELISA),
- flow cytometry with monoclonal antibodies,
- Molecular methods (polymerase chain reactions).
These methods have facilitated the performance of tests and have greatly expanded the information that can be developed by a clinical laboratory. The tests are now used for clinical diagnosis and the monitoring of therapies and patient responses. Immunology is a relatively young science and there is still so much to discover. Immunologists work in many different disease areas today that include allergy, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, transplantation, and cancer.
Immunology is the branch of biomedical sciences concerned with all aspects of the immune system in all multicellular organisms. Immunology deals with physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and disease as well as malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders like allergies, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency, transplant rejection and autoimmune disorders.
Antigen processing is an immunological process that prepares antigens for presentation to special cells of the immune system called T lymphocytes. It is considered to be a stage of antigen presentation pathways. The process by which antigen-presenting cells digest proteins from inside or outside the cell and display the resulting antigenic peptide fragments on cell surface MHC molecules for recognition by T cells is central to the body's ability to detect signs of infection or abnormal cell growth. As such, understanding the processes and mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation provides us with crucial insights necessary for the design of vaccines and therapeutic strategies to bolster T-cell responses.
Haematopoiesis is the synthesis and development of Blood cells. Occurs during embryonic development and throughout adulthood to produce and replenish the blood system. Cellular blood components are derived from haematopoietic stem cells that reside mainly in the bone marrow, a major site of adult haematopoiesis. The blood system contains more than 10 different blood cell types with various functions: Leukocytes represent many specialized cell types involved in innate and acquired immunity. Erythrocytes provide O2 and CO2 transport, whereas megakaryocytes generate platelets for blood clotting and wound healing.
Immune System Development:
Our immune system defends people against germs and microorganisms. The immune system consists of lymphoid organs that can be divided into the primary and secondary immune systems as well as the myeloid and lymphoid cells, these arise via haematopoiesis. The primary lymphoid organs are the bone marrow and thymus. These are the sites at which haematopoiesis occurs and immature lymphocytes grow, develop, and differentiate. The secondary, or peripheral, lymphoid organs primarily consist of the spleen and lymph nodes and play roles in antigen presentation and adaptive immune response initiation.
The effective immune response is an outcome of the reaction between antigen and a network of immunologically competent cells. The immune response is controlled by various mechanisms which restore the immune system to a resting state when response to a given antigen is no longer required. Effective immune responses are usually resulted from the interactions between pathogens and a network of immunologic elements.
The immune system is the collection of cells, tissues and molecules that protects the body from numerous pathogenic microbes and toxins in our environment. This defense against microbes has been divided into two general types of reactions: reactions of innate immunity and reactions of adaptive immunity. Thus, innate and adaptive immunity can be thought of as two equally important aspects of the immune system. As you will see, each aspect differs with respect to how quickly it responds and for how long it responds to pathogens, its central effector cell types and its specificity for different classes of microbes. As its name suggests, the innate immune system consists of cells and proteins that are always present and ready to mobilize and fight microbes at the site of infection. It thus provides an immediate response to foreign invader.The main components of the innate immune system are 1) physical epithelial barriers, 2) phagocytic leukocytes, 3) dendritic cells, 4) a special type of lymphocyte called a natural killer (NK) cell, and 5) circulating plasma proteins. Innate immune responses are not specific to a particular pathogen in the way that the adaptive immune responses are. They depend on a group of proteins and phagocytic cells that recognize conserved features of pathogens and become quickly activated to help destroy invaders.
Transplantation can be a influential method for the treatment of end-stage organ failure. Transplantation is the process of transferring cells, tissues, or organs from one site to another. The dysfunction of an organ system can be reformed with transplantation of an organ from a donor. However, the immune system remains the most dreadful barrier to transplantation as a routine medical treatment. The immune system has developed complex and effective mechanisms to conflict foreign agents. These mechanisms are also involved in the dismissal of transplanted organs, which are perceived as foreign by the recipient's immune system
Viruses are strongly immunogenic and produce 2 types of immune responses; humoral and cellular. T and B cells do not generally recognize the same epitopes present on the same virus. B cells see the free unaltered proteins in their native 3-D conformation whereas T cells usually see the Ag in a denatured form in conjunction with MHC molecules. The characteristics of the immune reaction to the same virus may differ in different individuals depending on their genetic constitutions.
Costimulatory molecules can be categorized based either on their functional attributes or on their structure. The costimulatory molecules discussed in this review will be divided into (1) positive costimulatory pathways: promoting T cell activation, survival and/or differentiation; (2) negative costimulatory pathways:antagonizing TCR signalling and suppressing T cell activation; (3) as third group we will discuss the members of the TIM family, a rather “new” family of cell surface molecules involved in the regulation of T cell differentiation and Treg function. Costimulatory pathways have a critical role in the regulation of alloreactivity. A complex network of positive and negative pathways regulates T cell responses. Blocking costimulation improves allograft survival in rodents and non-human primates. The costimulation blocker belatacept is being developed as immunosuppressive drug in renal transplantation.
Immunoinformatics is a branch of bioinformatics dealing with in silico analysis and modelling of immunological data and problems Immunoinformatics includes the study and design of algorithms for mapping potential B- and T-cell epitopes, which lessens the time and cost required for laboratory analysis of pathogen gene products. Using this information, an immunologist can explore the potential binding sites, which, in turn, leads to the development of new vaccines. This methodology is termed ‘reverse vaccinology’ and it analyses the pathogen genome to identify potential antigenic proteins.5 This is advantageous because conventional methods need to cultivate pathogen and then extract its antigenic proteins. Although pathogens grow fast, extraction of their proteins and then testing of those proteins on a large scale is expensive and time consuming. Immunoinformatics is capable of identifying virulence genes and surface-associated proteins.
Cell adhesion, it is the process by which cells interact and attach to a surface, substrate or another cell. Cell adhesion is essential for cell migration and tissue integrity. This process not only promotes the proper functioning of individual cells, but it also allows communication and coordination among groups of cells — including the cells that make up organized communities called tissues. Cell adhesion occurs from the action of Trans membrane glycoproteins called cell adhesion molecules,examples of this adhesion include integrins, syndecans, selectins and cadherins.
Pathology is a branch of medical science primarily concerning the examination of organs, tissues, and bodily fluids in order to make a diagnosis of disease. Immunopathology is a branch of biomedical science concerned with immune responses to disease, with immunodeficiency diseases, and with diseases caused by immune mechanisms. It includes the study of the pathology of an organism, organ system, or disease with respect to the immune system, immunity, and immune responses. The immune pathological reaction is caused by release of toxins and the apoptosis of infected cell.
The mucosal surfaces of the body have a higher risk of infection due to their synergy with the external environment. Mucosal immunology brings up those aspects of the immune system that protect the body from infection. It provides three main functions: protects the mucous membrane against infection, preventing the uptake of antigens, microorganisms, and other foreign materials, and moderating the organism's immune response to that material. The mucosal immune system is comprised of mechanical (mucus), chemical and cellular factors.