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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe physical and chemical immune barriers
  • Explain immediate and induced innate immune responses
  • Discuss natural killer cells
  • Describe major histocompatibility class I molecules
  • Summarize how the proteins in a complement system function to destroy extracellular pathogens

The immune system comprises both innate and adaptive immune responses. Innate immunity occurs naturally because of genetic factors or physiology; it is not induced by infection or vaccination but works to reduce the workload for the adaptive immune response. Both the innate and adaptive levels of the immune response involve secreted proteins, receptor-mediated signaling, and intricate cell-to-cell communication. The innate immune system developed early in animal evolution, roughly a billion years ago, as an essential response to infection. Innate immunity has a limited number of specific targets: any pathogenic threat triggers a consistent sequence of events that can identify the type of pathogen and either clear the infection independently or mobilize a highly specialized adaptive immune response. For example, tears and mucus secretions contain microbicidal factors.

Physical and chemical barriers

Before any immune factors are triggered, the skin functions as a continuous, impassable barrier to potentially infectious pathogens. Pathogens are killed or inactivated on the skin by desiccation (drying out) and by the skin’s acidity. In addition, beneficial microorganisms that coexist on the skin compete with invading pathogens, preventing infection. Regions of the body that are not protected by skin (such as the eyes and mucus membranes) have alternative methods of defense, such as tears and mucus secretions that trap and rinse away pathogens, and cilia in the nasal passages and respiratory tract that push the mucus with the pathogens out of the body. Throughout the body are other defenses, such as the low pH of the stomach (which inhibits the growth of pathogens), blood proteins that bind and disrupt bacterial cell membranes, and the process of urination (which flushes pathogens from the urinary tract).

Despite these barriers, pathogens may enter the body through skin abrasions or punctures, or by collecting on mucosal surfaces in large numbers that overcome the mucus or cilia. Some pathogens have evolved specific mechanisms that allow them to overcome physical and chemical barriers. When pathogens do enter the body, the innate immune system responds with inflammation, pathogen engulfment, and secretion of immune factors and proteins.

Pathogen recognition

An infection may be intracellular or extracellular, depending on the pathogen. All viruses infect cells and replicate within those cells (intracellularly), whereas bacteria and other parasites may replicate intracellularly or extracellularly, depending on the species. The innate immune system must respond accordingly: by identifying the extracellular pathogen and/or by identifying host cells that have already been infected. When a pathogen enters the body, cells in the blood and lymph detect the specific pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) on the pathogen’s surface. PAMPs are carbohydrate, polypeptide, and nucleic acid “signatures” that are expressed by viruses, bacteria, and parasites but which differ from molecules on host cells. The immune system has specific cells, described in [link] and shown in [link] , with receptors that recognize these PAMPs. A macrophage    is a large phagocytic cell that engulfs foreign particles and pathogens. Macrophages recognize PAMPs via complementary pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) . PRRs are molecules on macrophages and dendritic cells which are in contact with the external environment. A monocyte    is a type of white blood cell that circulates in the blood and lymph and differentiates into macrophages after it moves into infected tissue. Dendritic cells bind molecular signatures of pathogens and promote pathogen engulfment and destruction. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a type of PRR that recognizes molecules that are shared by pathogens but distinguishable from host molecules). TLRs are present in invertebrates as well as vertebrates, and appear to be one of the most ancient components of the immune system. TLRs have also been identified in the mammalian nervous system.

Questions & Answers

what are the types of cell
Teye Reply
prokaryote ,eukaryote, akaryotes
bonney
biology is the study of living organisms
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Is the study of living things
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what is diffusion
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what are the important of ecology?
Lenox
what are the importance of ecology
Foday Reply
double stranded DNA is found in which viruses?
Deborah Reply
Virusws usually dont hsve double strnaded DNA they have a single strand RNA. U should probably check them in gpogle just to be sure
Danisha
what would happen if humans were not multicellular
Grace Reply
ettr
Grace
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mascuud
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study of life
Dads
what are types of photosynthesis
Dads
Is there any other type of a eukaryotic cell.
Grace Reply
what is bionomial nomenclature
Rachaelda Reply
state the role of mitochondria
Rachaelda
mitochondria ia power House of the cell. it provides energy and as ATP. Cells energy currency.
Haider
The scientific method of giving short names on the basis of genius and species.
Haider
it is introduce by carlous Lennieus
Haider
it is naming of living organism where by they are given two names one generic and the other specific name
Kenneth
what is element
Kofi Reply
Structure of water molecule and it's biological significance. .....help guys
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Justo Reply
Why mitochondria is called the power house of the congo the bahamas cell
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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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