TYPES OF ACQUIRED IMMUNITY—HUMORAL AND CELL MEDIATED
Human body produces two types of acquired immunity, namely Humoral immunity or B-cell immunity(because B lymphocytes produce the antibodies)and Cell mediated immunity or T-cell immunity(because the activated lymphocytes are T lymphocytes).In the first type, the body develops circulating antibodies, which are globulin molecules in the blood plasma capable of attacking the invading agent. In the second type, acquired immunity is achieved through formation of large numbers of activated T lymphocytes that are specifically crafted in the lymph nodes to destroy any foreign agent. We shall see shortly that both the antibodies and the activated lymphocytes are formed in the lymphoid tissues of the body.
BOTH TYPES OF ACQUIRED IMMUNITY ARE INITIATED BY ANTIGENS
Since acquired immunities do not develop until after invasion of a foreign organism or toxin, it is clear that the body must have some mechanism for recognizing this invasion. Each toxin or each type of organism almost always contains one or more specific chemical compounds in its makeup that are different from all other compounds. In general, these are proteins or large polysaccharides, and it is they that initiate the acquired immunity. These substances are called antigens (antibody generations).
For a substance to be antigenic, it normally must have a high molecular weight of 8000 or greater. Furthermore, the process of antigenicity usually depends on regularly recurring molecular groups, called epitopes, on the surface of the large molecule. This factor also explains why proteins and large polysaccharides are almost always antigenic, since both of these substances have this stereo-chemical characteristic.
LYMPHOCYTES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ACQUIRED IMMUNITY
Acquired immunity is the product of the body’s lymphocytes. In instances where people have a genetic lack of lymphocytes or whose lymphocytes have been destroyed by radiation or chemicals, no acquired immunity can develop. Babies born with this malady will die within days after birth, due to fulminating bacterial infection unless they are treated by heroic measures. Therefore, it is clear that the lymphocytes are essential to the survival of the human beings.
The lymphocytes are located most extensively in the lymph nodes, but they are also found in special lymphoid tissues such as the spleen, sub-mucosal areas of the gastrointestinal tract, thymus, and bone marrow. The lymphoid tissue is distributed advantageously in the body to intercept invading organisms or toxins before they can spread too widely.
In most instances, the invading agent first enters the tissue fluid and then is carried by lymph vessels to the lymph node or other lymphoid tissue. For instance, the lymphoid tissue of the gastrointestinal walls is exposed immediately to antigens invading from the gut. The lymphoid tissue of the throat and pharynx (the tonsils and adenoids) is well located to intercept antigens that enter by way of the upper respiratory tract. The lymphoid tissue in the lymph nodes is exposed to antigens that invade the peripheral tissues of the body, and the lymphoid tissue of the spleen, thymus, and bone marrow plays a specific role of intercepting antigenic agents that have succeeded in reaching the circulating blood.
ALLERGIES AND HYPERSENSITIVITY
At this point, it is pertinent to highlight the adverse side effect of immunity; that is the development, under some conditions, of allergy or other types of immune hypersensitivity. There are several types of allergies and other hypersensitivities, some of which occur only in people who have specific allergic tendencies.
Delayed-reaction allergy is caused by activated T cells and not by antibodies. In the case of poison ivy, the toxin of poison ivy in itself does not cause much harm to the tissues. However, upon repeated exposure, it does cause the formation of activated helper and cytotoxic T cells. Thus, after subsequent exposure to the poison ivy toxin, within a day or so, the activated T cells diffuse from the circulating blood in large numbers into the skin to respond to the poison ivy toxin. At the same time, these T cells elicit a cell-mediated type of immune reaction.
Considering that this type of immunity can trigger release of many toxic substances from the activated T cells, as well as extensive invasion of the tissues by macrophages along with their subsequent effects, one can well understand that the eventual result of some delayed reaction allergies can cause serious tissue damage. The damage normally occurs in the tissue area where the instigating antigen is present, such as in the skin in the case of poison ivy, or in the lungs to cause lung edema or asthmatic attacks in the case of some airborne antigens.
Some people have an allergic tendency. Their allergies are called atopic allergies because they are caused by a non-ordinary response of the immune system. The allergic tendency is genetically passed from parent to child and is characterized by the presence of large quantities of IgE antibodies in the blood. These antibodies are called reagins or sensitizing antibodies to distinguish them from the more common IgG antibodies. When an allergen (defined as an antigen that reacts specifically with a specific type of IgE reagin antibody) enters the body, an allergen-reagin reaction takes place and a subsequent allergic reaction occurs.
BOOSTING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Having established how important the function of immune system is to the wellbeing of our health, therefore boosting our immune system is a priority we must undertake seriously. The immune system does a remarkable job of defending us against pathogens and other micro-organisms that causes diseases. However, sometimes when the immune system is weak, it fails to do its job properly: when this happens, invasion of even the smallest and weakest germ will trigger an illness. Is it possible to intervene in this process and help boost the immune system? Yes it is! There are many ways of doing this.
Thinking of how you can boost your immunity can be very exciting, but the ability to do so has proven elusive for several reasons. The immune system is a complex system. It is a complex organization of different organs all working together to protect the body – it is not a single entity. To function well, there is a need for balance and harmony. Researchers are still studying the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response.
At the moment, there are no scientifically proven links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function. However this does not mean that any study about the possible link between the effects of lifestyle on the immune system should be dismissed. Whether factors such as diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors have an influence on the immune response, are still being explored. In the meantime however, a good way to enhance the capabilities of your immune system would be to adopt general healthy-living strategies. Following general good health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Not smoking
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Moderating your alcohol intake
- Getting adequate sleep
- Taking steps to avoid infection such as frequently washing your hands and cooking your meats properly before consumption.
According to the Harvard University website:
“Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body – immune cells or others is not necessarily a good thing. For instance, athletes who engage in “blood doping” – pumping blood into their systems to boost the number of blood cells and enhance their performance – run the risk of strokes.
Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in a variety of ways. Which cells should you boost? And to what number? This is where SuperLife Immune Care comes into play. You should note that your body continually produces immune cells. To some extent, it produces more than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a process called apoptosis – a natural process of cell death. SuperLife Immune Care is made in such a way that it knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimal level.”