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Encyclopedia > Immunology

Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. It deals with, among other things, the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and disease; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders (autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency, allograft rejection); the physical, chemical and physiological characteristics of the components of the immune system in vitro, in situ, and in vivo. Immunology has various applications in several disciplines of science, and as such is further divided. Health science is the discipline of applied science which deals with human and animal health. ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... ... A crab is an example of an organism. ... Physiology (in Greek physis = nature and logos = word) is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms. ... Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. ... Hypersensitivity is an immune response that damages the bodys own tissues. ... In medicine, immune deficiency (or immunodeficiency) is a state where the immune system is incapable of defending the organism from infectious disease. ... An organ transplant is the transplantation of an organ (or part of one) from one body to another, for the purpose of replacing the recipients damaged or failing organ with a working one from the donor. ... Wiktionary has a definition of: In vitro In vitro (Latin: within glass) means within a test tube, or, more generally, outside a living organism or cell. ... In situ is a Latin phrase meaning in the place. ... In vivo (Latin for (with)in the living). ...

Contents

Histological examination of the immune system

Even before the concept of immunity (from immunis, Latin for "exempt") was developed, numerous early physicians characterised organs that would later prove to be part of the immune system. The key organs of the immune system are thymus, spleen, bone marrow, lymph vessels, lymph nodes and secondary lymphatic tissues such as tonsils, adenoids, and skin. Two major organs, the thymus and spleen, are examined histologically only post-mortem during autopsy. However some lymph nodes and secondary lymphatic tissues can be surgically excised for examination while patients are still alive. Immunity is medical term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. ... In human anatomy, the thymus is an organ located in the upper anterior portion of the chest cavity. ... The spleen is a ductless, vertebrate gland that is closely associated with the circulatory system, where it functions in the destruction of old red blood cells in holding a reservoir of blood. ... Grays Anatomy illustration of cells in bone marrow. ... The human lymphatic system The lymphatic system is a complex network of lymphoid organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that produce and transport lymph fluid from tissues to the circulatory system. ... Structure of the lymph node. ... The Palatine tonsils with the soft palate, uvula, and tongue visible. ... Adenoids, or pharyngeal tonsils, are folds of lymphatic tissue covered by ciliated epithelium. ... In zootomy and dermatology, skin is an organ of the integumentary system made up of multiple layers of epithelial tissues that guard underlying muscles and organs. ... A thin section of lung tissue stained with hematoxylin and eosin. ... An autopsy, also known as a post-mortem examination or an obduction, is a medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of a persons death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. ... A cardiothoracic surgeon performs a mitral valve replacement at the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center. ...


Many components of the immune system are actually cellular in nature and not associated with any specific organ but rather are embedded or circulating in various tissues located throughout the body. Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hook from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell. Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green). ... Biological tissue is a group of cells that perform a similar function. ...


Classical immunology

Classical immunology ties in with the fields of epidemiology and medicine. It studies the relationship between the body systems, pathogens, and immunity. The earliest written mention of immunity can be traced back to the plague of Athens in 430 BCE. Thucydides noted that people who had recovered from a previous bout of the disease could nurse the sick without contracting the illness a second time. Many other ancient societies have references to this phenomenon, but it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries before the concept developed into scientific theory. Epidemiology is the scientific study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations, and serves as the foundation and logic of interventions made in the interest of public health and preventive medicine. ... This article is about the field and science of medical practice and health care. ... A pathogen or infectious agent is a biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host. ... A pandemic (from Greek pan all + demos people) is an epidemic (an outbreak of an infectious disease) that spreads worldwide, or at least across a large region. ... Evzones Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC - 430s BC - 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC Years: 435 BC 434 BC 433 BC 432 BC 431 BC - 430 BC - 429 BC 428 BC... Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... This article focuses on the education and regulation of nurses. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...


The study of the molecular and cellular components that comprise the immune system, including their function and interaction, is the central science of immunology. The immune system has been divided into a more primitive innate immune system, and acquired or adaptive immune system of vertebrates, the latter of which is further divided into humoral and cellular components. Innate immunity is immunity that the body possesses naturally, as opposed to adaptive immunity. ... The adaptive immune system is composed of highly specialized, systemic cells and processes that eliminate pathogenic challenges. ... Humoral immunity is the aspect of immunity that is mediated by secreted antibodies, produced in the cells of the B lymphocyte lineage (B cell). ... Cell-mediated immunity is an immune response that does not involve antibodies but rather involves the activation of macrophages and NK-cells, the production of antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in response to an antigen. ...


The humoral (antibody) response is defined as the interaction between antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are specific proteins released from a certain class of immune cells (B lymphocytes). Antigens are defined as anything that elicits generation of antibodies, hence they are Antibody Generators. Immunology itself rests on an understanding of the properties of these two biological entities. However, equally important is the cellular response, which can not only kill infected cells in its own right, but is also crucial in controlling the antibody response. Put simply, both systems are highly interdependent. Schematic of antibody binding to an antigen An antibody or immunoglobulin is a large Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. ... An antigen is a substance that stimulates an immune response, especially the production of antibodies. ...


In the 21st century, immunology has broadened its horizons with much research being performed in the more specialized niches of immunology. This includes the immunological function of cells, organs and systems not normally associated with the immune system, as well as the function of the immune system outside classical models of immunity. The 21st century is the present century of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Clinical immunology

Clinical immunology is the study of diseases caused by disorders of the immune system (failure, aberrant action, and malignant growth of the cellular elements of the system). It also involves diseases of other systems, where immune reactions play a part in the pathology and clinical features. A disease or medical condition is an abnormality of the body or mind that causes discomfort, dysfunction, distress, or death to the person afflicted or those in contact with the person. ...


The diseases caused by disorders of the immune system fall into two broad categories: immunodeficiency, in which parts of the immune system fail to provide an adequate response (examples include chronic granulomatous disease), and autoimmunity, in which the immune system attacks its own host's body (examples include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's disease and myasthenia gravis). Other immune system disorders include different hypersensitivities, in which the system responds inappropriately to harmless compounds (asthma and allergies) or responds too intensely. In medicine, immune deficiency (or immunodeficiency) is a state where the immune system is incapable of defending the organism from infectious disease. ... In medicine (genetics and pediatrics) chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a hereditary disease where neutrophil granulocytes are unable to destroy ingested pathogens. ... Autoimmunity is the failure of an organism to recognize its own constituent parts (down to the sub-molecular levels) as self, which results in an immune response against its own cells and tissues. ... Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is traditionally considered a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints. ... Hashimotos thyroiditis is the most common form of thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where the bodys own antibodies fight the cells of the thyroid. ... Myasthenia gravis (sometimes abbreviated MG; from the Greek myastheneia, lit. ... Hypersensitivity is an immune response that damages the bodys own tissues. ... An allergy can refer to several kinds of immune reactions including Type I hypersensitivity in which a persons body is hypersensitised and develops IgE type antibodies to typical proteins. ...


The most well-known disease that affects the immune system itself is AIDS, caused by HIV. AIDS is an immunodeficiency characterized by the lack of CD4+ ("helper") T cells and macrophages, which are destroyed by HIV. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, sometimes written Aids) is a human disease characterized by progressive destruction of the bodys immune system. ... Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. ... T cells are a subset of lymphocytes that play a large role in the immune response. ... Macrophages (Greek: big eaters) are cells found in tissues that are responsible for phagocytosis of pathogens, dead cells and cellular debris. ...


Clinical immunologists also study ways to prevent transplant rejection, in which the immune system attempts to destroy allografts or xenografts. Transplant rejection occurs when the immune system of the recipient of a transplant attacks the transplanted organ or tissue. ... An allograft is a transplanted organ or tissue from a genetically non-identical member of the same species. ... A xenograft (xenotransplant) is a transplant of tissue from a donor of one species to a recipient of another species. ...


Immunotherapy

See main article Immunotherapy Immunotherapy is a form of medical treatment based upon the concept of modulating the immune system to achieve a therapeutic goal. ...


The use of immune system components to treat a disease or disorder is known as immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is most commonly used in the context of the treatment of cancers together with chemotherapy (drugs) and radiotherapy (radiation). However, immunotherapy is also often used in the immunosuppressed (such as HIV patients) and people suffering from other immune deficiencies or autoimmune diseases. Cancer is a class of diseases or disorders characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these cells to invade other tissues, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis. ... Chemotherapy is the use of chemical substances to treat disease. ... Oral medication A medication is a licenced drug taken to cure or reduce symptoms of an illness or medical condition. ... Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) is the medical use of ionizing radiation as part of cancer treatment to control malignant cells (not to be confused with radiology, the use of radiation in medical imaging and diagnosis). ... Electromagnetic radiation can be imagined as a self-propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields. ... Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. ...


Diagnostic immunology

The specificity of the bond between antibody and antigen has made it an excellent tool in the detection of substances in a variety of diagnostic techniques. Antibodies specific for a desired antigen can be conjugated with a radiolabel, fluorescent label, or color-forming enzyme and are used as a "probe" to detect it. An antigen is a substance that stimulates an immune response, especially the production of antibodies. ...


Well known applications of this include immunoblotting, ELISA and immunohistochemical staining of microscope slides. The speed, accuracy and simplicity of such tests has led to the development of rapid techniques for the diagnosis of disease, microbes and even illegal drugs in vivo (of course tests conducted in a closed environment have a higher degree of accuracy). Such testing is also used to distinguish compatible blood types. Picture of a western blot with 5 vertical lanes A western blot (a. ... A 96-well microtiter plate such as the one shown above might be used for ELISA. The Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay, or ELISA, is a biochemical technique used mainly in immunology to detect the presence of an antibody or an antigen in a sample. ... In vivo (Latin for (with)in the living). ... Blood type is determined, in part, by the ABO blood group antigens present on red blood cells A total of 29 human blood group systems are recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). ...


Evolutionary immunology

Study of the immune system in extant and extinct species is capable of giving us a key understanding of the evolution of species and the immune system. The Dodo, shown here in illustration, is an often-cited[1] example of extinction. ... In 1832, while travelling on the Beagle, naturalist Charles Darwin collected giant fossils in South America. ...


A development of complexity of the immune system can be seen from simple phagocytotic protection of single celled organisms, to circulating antimicrobial peptides in insects to lymphoid organs in vertebrates. Of course, like much of evolutionary observation, these physical properties are often seen from the anthropocentric aspect. It should be recognised, that every organism living today has an immune system absolutely capable of protecting it from most forms of harm; those organisms that did not adapt their immune systems to external threats are no longer around to be observed. Anthropocentrism (Greek άνθρωπος, anthropos, man, human being, κέντρον, kentron, center) is the practice, conscious or otherwise, of regarding the existence and/or concerns of human beings as the central fact of the universe. ...


Insects and other arthropods, while not possessing true adaptive immunity, show highly evolved systems of innate immunity, and are additionally protected from external injury (and exposure to pathogens) by their chitinous shells. Orders See taxonomy Insects are invertebrates that are taxonomically referred to as the class Insecta. ... Subphyla and Classes Subphylum Trilobitomorpha Trilobita - trilobites (extinct) Subphylum Chelicerata Arachnida - spiders,scorpions, etc. ... Structure of chitin molecule Chitin (IPA: ) is one of the main components in the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeletons of insects and other arthropods, and in some other animals. ...


See also

... Autoimmunity is the failure of an organism to recognize its own constituent parts (down to the sub-molecular levels) as self, which results in an immune response against its own cells and tissues. ... This is a list of some noted immunologists. ... Timeline of immunology: 1798 - smallpox vaccination (Edward Jenner) 1862 - phagocytosis (Ernst Haeckel) 1877 - mast cells (Paul Ehrlich) 1879 - development by Louis Pasteur of attenuated chicken cholera, anthrax and rabies vaccines development (Louis Pasteur) 1883 - Cellular theory of vaccination (Elie Metchnikoff) 1885 - first application of rabies vaccine in treatment of a... Serology is a medical blood test to detect the presence of antibodies in the blood serum. ...

References

  • Wikibooks Immunology Textbook
  • Goldsby RA, Kindt TK, Osborne BA and Kuby J (2003) Immunology, 5th Edition, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, New York, ISBN 0-7167-4947-5

External links

BioMed Central (BMC) is a UK-based scientific publisher specializing in open access publication. ... Open access (OA) is the free online availability of digital content. ... A cover of Nature Reviews Immunology With an impact factor of 32. ...


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