What is Immunity? Definition, Types, Example, Know A-Z

Friends, do you want to understand what immunity is? If so, then this article is for you because we will delve into its definition, types, formation, and examples. So let’s begin without further delay.

What is immunity?

Firstly, let’s define immunity. The term ‘immunity‘ implies resistance against something. Specifically, it refers to the body’s ability to counteract microorganisms that enter from outside, known as antigens. To combat these antigens, the body employs a protective mechanism called the immune system, and this process is known as immunity.

In simpler terms, immunity is how our body fights and eliminates foreign microorganisms that invade it, or the body can combat germs.

Who creates immunity in our bodies?

In our blood, three types of cells are present: Red Blood Corpuscles (RBC), White Blood Corpuscles (WBC), and platelets. While RBCs and platelets don’t engage in fighting, WBCs, also known as White Blood Corpuscles, are responsible for this task.

These blood cells, including RBCs, WBCs, and platelets, are produced in the bone marrow. Within the bone marrow exists a type of cell known as a Pluripotent Stem Cell.

What are stem cells?

They are cells that have the ability to transform into other types of cells or are undifferentiated cells that can change into specialized cells.

Now, let’s differentiate between pluripotent stem cells. These cells divide into two main types:

  1. Myeloid Stem Cell
  2. Lymphoid Stem Cell

What is a myeloid stem cell?

This cell further differentiates into various cell types, including RBCs, platelets, Monocytes, Neutrophils, Basophils, and Eosinophils.

Let’s focus on how WBCs function in fighting within our bodies. There are two main types of WBCs:

  1. Granulocytes
  2. Agranulocytes

What are Granulocytes?

These cells contain certain types of protein particles, hence they’re termed granular cells. They come in three varieties:

  1. Neutrophils: This WBC is abundant in our body, making up 60-65% of WBCs. Its primary function is phagocytosis, meaning it engulfs and destroys foreign particles.
  2. Basophils: These are the least abundant, constituting only 0.5-1% of WBCs. They also participate in phagocytosis.
  3. Eosinophils: Comprising 2-3% of WBCs, they’re primarily involved in allergic reactions.
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What are agranulocytes?

These cells lack protein particles within, hence they’re called non-granular cells. They come in two types:

  1. Monocytes: Accounting for 6-8%, these cells also engage in phagocytosis.
  2. Lymphocytes: Constituting 20-25% of WBCs, these are crucial for immune response as they identify antigens. They play a vital role in distinguishing between harmful and beneficial elements.

Understanding the significance of lymphocytes, it’s clear that they are pivotal in building our body’s immune system. They’re produced, matured, transported, and stored within various organs in our body known as lymphoid organs.

What is immunity?
What is immunity?

Lymphoid Stem Cell –

This cell divides and transforms into a lymphocyte cell.

Red Blood Cells (RBC), Platelets, and White Blood Cells (Monocytes, Neutrophils, Basophils, Eosinophils, and Lymphocytes) are collectively referred to as blood cells. These blood cells are formed in the bone marrow, and this formation process is called hematopoiesis.

Lymphoid Organ –

This lymphoid organ is divided into two categories:

  1. Primary Lymphoid Organ
  2. Secondary Lymphoid Organ

What is the primary lymphoid organ?

The lymphoid organs where lymphocytes are formed and matured are called primary lymphoid organs. There are two primary lymphoid organs found in our body:

  1. Bone marrow
  2. Thymus gland
Bone marrow –

All lymphocytes are formed here, but not all of them mature here. Some lymphocytes migrate from here to the thymus gland to mature, while others mature in the bone marrow. Therefore, both bone marrow and thymus gland are considered primary lymphoid organs. The lymphocytes that are formed in the bone marrow and mature there are called B-lymphocytes.

Thymus Gland –

This gland is located above the heart and below the sternum. It is relatively large at birth but shrinks as age increases. The lymphocytes that mature in the thymus gland are called T-lymphocytes.

What is a secondary lymphoid organ?

When mature lymphocytes settle in other parts of the body and recognize incoming antigens, the lymphoid organs involved are termed secondary lymphoid organs.

What are the secondary lymphoid organs?

The secondary lymphoid organs include paired patches of the spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, and small intestine.

Spleen –

The spleen is a bean-shaped organ that appears purple. It is situated between the diaphragm and fundus. The spleen is often referred to as the “graveyard of RBCs” and the “blood bank.” This means that when red blood cells (RBCs) die, they float in the bloodstream until they reach the spleen, where they are consumed. Basophil cells, which transform into macrophages, are responsible for consuming the dead RBCs.

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Macrophages are of two types: those that circulate in the blood and those that collect in organs such as the liver (Kupffer cells) and bones (osteoclasts).

Why is the spleen called a blood bank?

The spleen stores excess RBCs when more is produced than needed in the body, hence its designation as a “blood bank.

Now, let’s discuss how the spleen functions as a secondary lymphoid organ. When foreign antigens or microorganisms enter the body and reach the bloodstream, mature lymphocytes present in the spleen recognize and respond to them. Phagocytic cells within the spleen also ingest and destroy these microorganisms. Thus, the spleen acts as a secondary lymphoid organ because it receives mature lymphocytes.

Lymph nodes –

Lymph nodes are small solid structures located throughout the lymphatic duct. They contain lymphocytes and phagocytic cells. Lymph nodes serve as sites where lymphocytes and phagocytic cells work together to combat antigens or microorganisms present in the lymph fluid.

MALT (Mucosa Associated Lymphoid Tissue) –

The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue is found in the innermost layer of the small intestine, known as the mucosa. It consists of paired patches of lymphatic tissue. MALT accounts for about 50% of the lymphatic tissue in the body.

How many types of immunity are there?

There are two types of immunity:

  1. Innate immunity
  2. Acquired immunity

What is innate immunity?

Innate immunity refers to the immunity we possess from birth. It is nonspecific and acts as a general defense mechanism against various pathogens. Innate immunity includes physical barriers such as the skin, stomach acid (HCl), mucus in the digestive tract and nasal passages, and enzymes like lysozyme found in saliva and tears.

There are four types of innate immunity:

  1. Physical barrier
  2. Physiological barrier
  3. Cellular barrier
  4. Cytokine barrier

What is acquired immunity?

Acquired immunity is the immunity that develops after birth. It is specific and targets particular pathogens. Acquired immunity is characterized by its memory, meaning it can remember and respond to specific pathogens upon subsequent encounters.

Acquired immunity is mediated by lymphocytes, specifically B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes.

B lymphocytes, which mature in the bone marrow, produce antibodies. Upon encountering a pathogen, B lymphocytes differentiate into plasma B cells, which produce antibodies, and memory B cells, which retain information about the pathogen for future encounters.

T lymphocytes, which mature in the thymus gland, are responsible for cell-mediated immunity. There are four types of T lymphocytes: T helper cells (TH), T killer cells (TK), T suppressor cells (TS), and T memory cells (TM).

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T helper cells stimulate plasma B cells to produce antibodies. When a person is vaccinated, inactive pathogens in the vaccine prompt the immune system to produce antibodies. Memory cells retain information about the pathogen for future encounters, enabling a quicker and more effective immune response upon subsequent exposure.

What is an antibody?

Antibodies are proteins produced by B lymphocytes in response to pathogens. They consist of four polypeptide chains: two large heavy chains and two small light chains. There are five types of antibodies: IgD, IgE, IgM, IgA, and IgG.

Antibodies circulate in the blood and other body fluids. When an antibody encounters an antigen (foreign substance), it binds to it, rendering it inactive. Phagocytic cells then destroy the bound antigen.

What is an immune response?

An immune response refers to the body’s reaction to the presence of pathogens. There are two types of immune responses:

  1. Humoral Immune Response
  2. Cell-mediated immunity

What is a humoral immune response?

B lymphocytes, which circulate in body fluids, play a significant role in the humoral immune response. When a pathogen enters the body, B lymphocytes produce antibodies to neutralize it.

What is cell-mediated immunity?

T lymphocytes, which are primarily found in organs, are involved in cell-mediated immunity. When an organ is transplanted into the body, T lymphocytes recognize and respond to it. Immunosuppressant drugs like cyclosporine-A are administered to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ by inhibiting T lymphocyte activity.

How many types of acquired immunity?

There are two types of acquired immunity:

  1. Active Immunity
  2. Passive Immunity
What is active immunity?

Active immunity refers to immunity acquired when the body produces its antibodies in response to a pathogen. Active immunity can be natural or artificial.

Natural active immunity occurs when the body produces antibodies against a pathogen without vaccination.

Artificial active immunity occurs when the body produces antibodies in response to vaccination.

What is passive immunity?

Passive immunity refers to immunity acquired when preformed antibodies are transferred from one individual to another. Passive immunity can be natural or artificial.

Natural passive immunity occurs when a baby receives IgA antibodies from its mother’s breast milk or IgG antibodies from the mother through the placenta during fetal development.

Artificial passive immunity occurs when antibodies are injected into an individual to provide immediate protection against a specific pathogen.

Artificial passive immunity occurs when antibodies are injected into an individual to provide immediate protection against a specific pathogen. An example of this is the administration of tetanus antitoxin to neutralize tetanus toxins in case of an injury.

Why was the clotting factor removed from the horse’s blood when preparing serum for passive immunity?

When blood from one species is introduced into another species, it can trigger a clotting response, potentially leading to serious complications or death. By removing the clotting factor, known as serum, only the antibodies are retained, making it safe for administration to humans.

Example – Anti Tetanus Serum

In summary, the immune system comprises both innate and acquired immunity, each with its mechanisms for protecting the body against pathogens. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for developing strategies to prevent and treat diseases effectively.

conclusion –

Friends, I hope you liked the information given in this article about what is immunity and it must have been helpful for you. If you liked this article, then share it with your friends and also on the Facebook group, WhatsApp group.

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