Chapter 1: The Immune System
- Cells of the primitive innate immune system and the antigen-specific adaptive immune system act as a cooperative network to bring about a coordinated and tightly regulated immune response to foreign antigens
- The former uses a limited pattern of recognition molecules and, although it retains no memory, is able to mount a rapid response
- The latter recognises a huge diversity of different specific antigens and elicits a response that is highly specific and retains memory
- Diversity and antigen specificity in both the TCR and BCR result from somatic recombination and the random splicing of a selected number of gene segments
- When naive B-cells encounter an antigen, further antigen specificity is added by somatic hypermutation in the germinal centre of secondary lymphoid organs
- Only the most avidly antigen-binding cells mature to become either antibody-producing plasma cells or memory B-cells
- Antibodies may switch to different classes with differing effector functions and tissue locations while retaining the same antigen specificity in their variable regions
- In response to antigen, T-cells differentiate to effector T-cells that may augment the immune response, cytotoxic T-cells that destroy altered self-cells, or regulatory T-cells
- Cytokines regulate the immune response by autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine mechanisms
- Cooperative interactions of both facets of the immune response result in efficient effector mechanisms that clear foreign antigen with residual immunological memory
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