News tagged with immune system

Related topics: cells , immune cells , immune response , bacteria , protein

Researchers uncover allergy-cancer connection

While many are stocking up on allergy medicine in preparation for spring, a new study from researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center has uncovered a new connection between allergy ...

Mar 19, 2014
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Thousands of unknown antigens identified

Researchers of Utrecht University, Intravacc and the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection used a new method to identify hitherto unknown peptide antigens. This type of antigen had long been searched ...

Mar 18, 2014
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Drugs fail to reawaken dormant HIV infection

Scientists at Johns Hopkins report that compounds they hoped would "wake up" dormant reservoirs of HIV inside immune system T cells—a strategy designed to reverse latency and make the cells vulnerable to ...

Mar 23, 2014
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Researchers reverse bone loss in immune disorder

Patients with leukocyte adhesion deficiency, or LAD, suffer from frequent bacterial infections, including the severe gum disease known as periodontitis. These patients often lose their teeth early in life.

Mar 26, 2014
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Immune system

An immune system is a collection of biological processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumour cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly. Detection is complicated as pathogens can evolve rapidly, producing adaptations that avoid the immune system and allow the pathogens to successfully infect their hosts.

To survive this challenge, multiple mechanisms evolved that recognize and neutralize pathogens. Even simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria possess enzyme systems that protect against viral infections. Other basic immune mechanisms evolved in ancient eukaryotes and remain in their modern descendants, such as plants, fish, reptiles, and insects. These mechanisms include antimicrobial peptides called defensins, phagocytosis, and the complement system. Vertebrates such as humans have even more sophisticated defense mechanisms. The immune systems of vertebrates consist of many types of proteins, cells, organs, and tissues, which interact in an elaborate and dynamic network. As part of this more complex immune response, the human immune system adapts over time to recognise specific pathogens more efficiently. This adaptation process is referred to as "adaptive immunity" or "acquired immunity" and creates immunological memory. Immunological memory created from a primary response to a specific pathogen, provides an enhanced response to secondary encounters with that same, specific pathogen. This process of acquired immunity is the basis of vaccination.

Disorders in the immune system can result in disease. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections. Immunodeficiency can either be the result of a genetic disease, such as severe combined immunodeficiency, or be produced by pharmaceuticals or an infection, such as the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) that is caused by the retrovirus HIV. In contrast, autoimmune diseases result from a hyperactive immune system attacking normal tissues as if they were foreign organisms. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1 and lupus erythematosus. Immunology covers the study of all aspects of the immune system which has significant relevance to human health and diseases. Further investigation in this field is expected to play a serious role in promotion of health and treatment of diseases.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA