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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Discuss inherited and acquired immunodeficiencies
  • Explain the four types of hypersensitivity and how they differ
  • Give an example of how autoimmune disease breaks tolerance

This section is about how the immune system goes wrong. When it goes haywire, and becomes too weak or too strong, it leads to a state of disease. The factors that maintain immunological homeostasis are complex and incompletely understood.


As you have seen, the immune system is quite complex. It has many pathways using many cell types and signals. Because it is so complex, there are many ways for it to go wrong. Inherited immunodeficiencies arise from gene mutations that affect specific components of the immune response. There are also acquired immunodeficiencies with potentially devastating effects on the immune system, such as HIV.

Inherited immunodeficiencies

A list of all inherited immunodeficiencies is well beyond the scope of this book. The list is almost as long as the list of cells, proteins, and signaling molecules of the immune system itself. Some deficiencies, such as those for complement, cause only a higher susceptibility to some Gram-negative bacteria. Others are more severe in their consequences. Certainly, the most serious of the inherited immunodeficiencies is severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID)    . This disease is complex because it is caused by many different genetic defects. What groups them together is the fact that both the B cell and T cell arms of the adaptive immune response are affected.

Children with this disease usually die of opportunistic infections within their first year of life unless they receive a bone marrow transplant. Such a procedure had not yet been perfected for David Vetter, the “boy in the bubble,” who was treated for SCID by having to live almost his entire life in a sterile plastic cocoon for the 12 years before his death from infection in 1984. One of the features that make bone marrow transplants work as well as they do is the proliferative capability of hematopoietic stem cells of the bone marrow. Only a small amount of bone marrow from a healthy donor is given intravenously to the recipient. It finds its own way to the bone where it populates it, eventually reconstituting the patient’s immune system, which is usually destroyed beforehand by treatment with radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs.

New treatments for SCID using gene therapy, inserting nondefective genes into cells taken from the patient and giving them back, have the advantage of not needing the tissue match required for standard transplants. Although not a standard treatment, this approach holds promise, especially for those in whom standard bone marrow transplantation has failed.

Human immunodeficiency virus/aids

Although many viruses cause suppression of the immune system, only one wipes it out completely, and that is the previously mentioned HIV. It is worth discussing the biology of this virus, which can lead to the well-known AIDS, so that its full effects on the immune system can be understood. The virus is transmitted through semen, vaginal fluids, and blood, and can be caught by risky sexual behaviors and the sharing of needles by intravenous drug users. There are sometimes, but not always, flu-like symptoms in the first 1 to 2 weeks after infection. This is later followed by seroconversion. The anti-HIV antibodies formed during seroconversion are the basis for most initial HIV screening done in the United States. Because seroconversion takes different lengths of time in different individuals, multiple AIDS tests are given months apart to confirm or eliminate the possibility of infection.

Questions & Answers

Which of the following is generally called a Sprain?
Raneem Reply
sprain is also called torn ligament.. it is the streching Or tearing of ligament.. with in a joint
a long boin between your nick and pelvic
sprain is also known as" moch"
sprain is also known as 'moch' it's a type of injury affect on ligaments..(sprain)
sprain and strain both called as 'moch'
body, muscle and regional of structures in the body
Harmony Reply
when the heart beats, blood pumps through the body and making the body function
what is vagina
Hausa Reply
what is ventricular circulation
Maryam Reply
In a four-chambered heart, such as that in humans, there are two ventricles that operate in a double circulatory system: the right ventricle pumps blood into the pulmonary circulation to the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps blood into the systemic circulation through the aorta.
A 23-year-old basketball player mentally rehearses free throw shots while lying in bed. Which option best describesthe area of the brain that is involved in generating a motor image of this action in the absence of actual movement?
a 67-year-old man has a stroke. one week later, he experiences sudden and uncontrolled flailing, ballistic movements of his limbs. which part of the man’s brain is most likely to have been damaged by the stroke?
primary motor cortex.. (principal area of cerebrum)
what factors that affect the rate diffusion
Gift Reply
the mass of the solute the temperature of theenvironment the solvent density and the distance traveled
sorry what are the common meaning of haemostatis
Juma Reply
homeostasis is the steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintaining by living systems
what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH
Nansi Reply
what is the the differences between DNA and RNA?
The major differences between the DNA and RNA are contain of double stranded and single stranded which the DNA contain duoble stranded and RNA contain single stranded.
what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH before this we confused just verify long term of ADH firstly
How many genes consist of DNA?
omaryare muhyadiin when you talk about genes, is the material formed in a DNA genes have form like plasma have many genes round there
aldosterone, renin
DNA contains the sugar deoxyribone while RNA contains the sugar ribose the only difference between ribose and deoxyribone is that ribose has one more- OH group than deoxyribone which has -H attached to the second carbon in the ring DNA is a double stranded molecules RNA is a single strnded molecul
in human genes very in size from a few hundred DNA based to more than 2million bases
to know the different structures of the body To know how the body works To know more about our body parts
Deitdre Reply
hi Deitdre you tock about knowledge or you ask the question
do you need any explanation when reading this book?
janet Reply
Its Good
if have many ability just do it!!
we all waiting for it
compare and contrast the operation of homeostasis
Dinelle Reply
what is the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and nonpolar covalent bond?
In summary, the bond has different in electronegativity.
sorry help me to get the definition of hemostasis or the meaning
the definition of distal
Dinelle Reply
farthest away from the attachment point.
Distal, is the farthest possition from the origin or midle point
exercise physiologist how ?
Noor Reply
hi noorr. when you talk about physiologist its a person who study physiology but exercise physiologist is what an exercise doing by physiologist in physiologican
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Rafiullah Reply
in my lerning the question com like for example ni eassy qustion must understand the the part of the body and how it work or mechanisms of each part learned
how can I memorize
mukhtaar Reply
which part of the body produces blood
give me answer
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow ofbones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts give rise to all of the formed element
what is hemocytoblasts
hemocytoblasts are stem cells in red bone marrow which give rise the all of formed elements
Discuss clonal theory in physiology and its application in measles infection in a 6yr child? Can anyone help me
Isaac Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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