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1.1 The immune system

The job of the immune system is to ensure the integrity of the body against the ingress of foreign substances. These defense reactions of the organism are mediated on the one hand by unspecific (innate) and specific (acquired) immunity [JANEWAY, 1999]. In addition, granulocytes and macrophages have the task of eliminating all invading pathogens as quickly as possible. Macrophages are distributed in almost all tissues and form an early warning system against invading exogenous agents. Soluble, circulating molecules such as complement factors are able to attach to microorganisms and lead to improved recognition and phagocytosis [GORDON, 1999]. Natural killer cells take on an intermediate stage of non-specific and specific immunity, as they can detect and eliminate virus-infected cells on the one hand, although on the other hand they lack antigen-specific receptors. The specificity of the antigen-specific response results from the repertoire of antigen receptors that are expressed by the T and B lymphocytes, each of these two antigen receptors carrying on its cell surface which are uniquely capable of specific structure determinants (epitopes) or Recognize antigens [HAYNES, 1999].

B lymphocytes are the precursors of antibody-secreting plasma cells that mediate humoral immunity. T lymphocytes mediate antigen-specific cellular immunity and at the same time regulate the function of B lymphocytes and macrophages through cellular interactions and the production of cytokines. [HAYNES, 1999; JANEWAY, 1999].


Gordon, S. (1999). "Macrophage-restricted molecules: role in differentiation and activation." Immunol Lett 65 (1-2): 5-8.

Haynes, B.F. and L.P. Hale (1999). "Thymic function, aging, and AIDS." Hosp Pract (Off Ed) 34 (3): 59-60, 63-5, 69-70, passim.

Janeway, C.A., Jr. and R.A. Flavell (1999). "Immunology at Yale." Immunol Res 19 (2-3): 105-6.

1. The immune system

[...] The task of the immune system is to guarantee the integrity of the body against the penetration of these foreign substances. These defense reactions of the organism against pathogens are on the one hand by the unspecific (innate) and through the specific (acquired) defense mediated (JANEWAY et al., 1999). [...]

[...] In addition, granulocytes and macrophages have the task of quickly eliminating all invading pathogens. Macrophages belong to a family of long-lived cells that are distributed in almost all tissues and represent an early warning system against the penetration of exogenous agents. Soluble, circulating molecules such as complement factors are able to adhere to microorganisms and lead to improved recognition and phagocytosis (uptake of foreign substances and bacteria) (opsonization) (GORDON, 1999). Natural killer cells (NK cells) occupy an intermediate stage between non-specific and specific immunity, as they can detect and eliminate virus-infected cells on the one hand, although on the other hand they lack antigen-specific receptors. [...] The specificity of the antigen-specific response results from the

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Repertoire of antigen receptors expressed by the T and B lymphocytes. Each individual T or B lymphocyte has antigen receptors on its cell surface that are uniquely capable of recognizing specific structural determinants (epitopes) or antigens. [...] (HALE and HAYNES, 1999).

B lymphocytes are the precursors of antibody-secreting plasma cells, which are a humoral immunity convey. [...] T-lymphocytes, on the other hand, mediate antigen-specific cellular immunity and at the same time regulate the function of B-lymphocytes and macrophages through cellular interactions and the production of cytokines. [...] (HALE and HAYNES, 1999; JANEWAY et al., 1999).


GORDON, S. (1999): Chapter 3: Development and distribution of mononuclear phagocytes: relevance to inflammation. In: J. I. CALLIN and R. SNYDERMAN (Eds.): Inflammation: basic principles and clinical correlates. Verlag Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, USA, 2nd edition, pp 35-48

HALE, L. P. and B. F. HAYNES (1999): Chapter 8: Overview of development and function of lymphocytes In: J. I. CALLIN and R. SNYDERMAN (Eds.): Inflammation: basic principles and clinical correlates. Verlag Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, USA, 2nd edition, pp.119-135

JANEWAY, C.A., P. TRAVERS, M. WALPORT, J.D. CAPRA (1999): Chapter 1: Basic Concepts in Immunology In: Immunobiology, The Immune System in Health and Disease. Verlag Elsevier Science, USA, 4th edition, pp. 1-33