INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE

The Inflammatory Response is a defensive action which takes into account fluids, hormones, and cells. Some apparent symptoms relating to this response are redness, heat, swelling, and pain. Once pathogens have seeped into the blood stream, hostile chemicals like prostaglandins, kinins, histamines, lymphokins cause vasodilation, a dilation of the blood vessels, which allows blood to rush into the damaged area. This amounts to a feel of congestion inside your vessels and causes a burning sensation and redness. These chemicals provoke clotting factors and antibodies to amass in the area, irritating nearby nerves, thus, causing the pain. Adding to the pain would be the damaging secretion of the bacterial toxins. Nevertheless, the hormones, in a process called chemotaxis, act like homing signals to the defensive cells of the system, which latently arrive in the scene to breach the pathogenic invasion. To further help the clogging agents, nuetrophils cling to the skin surface one after another, forming chains which sow the damaged area. One common effect of the inflammatory response is that of puss. By releasing lysosomal enzymes, nuetrophils kill large portions of the invading armies but destroy themselves in the process. This mass killing of both pathogens and cells amounts to a creamy like fluid called puss.

Interferon

Interferon is a family of small proteins which are manufactured by an infected cell and helps inhibit viruses from entering other healthy cells. Once a cell has been infected by some virus, it releases interferon, which binds to the membranes of other immune cells, such as phagocites. As the interferon binds to these cells, viruses are incapable of dividing within these cells.

The three kinds of interferon have somewhat similar effects on immune cells. In addition to their anti-viral effects, interferon activate macrophages, natural killers, and decrease cell division. Alpha [a] interferon is produced by leukocytes. Beta [ß] which is produced by fibroblasts. And, Gamma [l] is fabricated by lymphocytes.

Fever

Fever is an abnormally high increase of body temperature in response to pathogen invasion. Body temperature is regulated by a section of the brain called the hypothalamus . Normal temperature is set by the hypothalamus at 37°C (98.6°F). If pathogens should enter the body, then macrophages, which would be fighting the invaders, secret chemicals called pyrogens. These chemicals order the hypothalamus to raise the body temperature; therefore, the body works harder to meet the set temperature. This means that there will be an increase in cell division. Not only does an increase in temperature kill many bacteria that can't live in temperature over 37°C, but the immune cells divide and work faster to kill the pathogens.

Natural Killers

Natural Killers are a unique set of cells which kill virus infested and cancer cells by a process called lysis. This involves the use of proteins called compliment. This arrow like strand of proteins allows the natural killer to drain all the cellular fluid in the cell. The process is similar to cutting yourself and letting all your blood drain membrane just like we can replace our skin, the natural killers' compliment has a protein called C9 which keeps the membrane hole open. This ensures the full drainage of the cellular fluid. Mainly, lysis and the nonspecific ability to destroy all diseased cells spontaneously gives Natural Killers' their name.

Phagocytosis

Phagocytosis is the cellular action of "eating". This mechanism is mostly used by immune cells called macrophages and nuetrophils to destroy pathogens and disease infested cells. The cell grabs any bacteria or diseased cell with its flowing extensions like if it were a blob engulfing its victim. After the bacteria is ingested in a food vacuole, a ball of highly acidic enzymes called a lysozyme, inside the cell begins, to digest it. To further impose harm on the surrounding pathogens, the neutrophil secretes a deadly chemical somewhat similar to household bleach. Unfortunately, upon secreting the chemical, the nuetrophil can not live in such an environment and dies along with the other pathogens.

Saliva

Saliva in your mouth contains an enzyme called lysozyme which kills bacteria. Any pathogen upon entering the mouth will meet not only the sugar digesting enzyme called alamalze, which will produce some harm, but, also lysozyme.

Nostrils

Your nostrils lead to your lungs where the warm environment would allow pathogens to grow. However, the mucous covered hairs of the nose trap these invaders. If pathogens get past the nose, then the ciliated trachea , the wind pipe, trap these organisms and sweep them to the top of the trachea, where it is met by your mouth.. From there, pathogens would be swallowed into your stomach . Your stomach acid, namely hydrochloric acid, kills off most, if not all bacteria, almost immediately, far before it can get into your bloodstream.

Skin

Your skin will keep most pathogens from entering, at least while it is healthy, because it has a very thick layer of fat and dead skin cells which block any intruder from entering the body. Also, it secrets acidic chemicals that kill many pathogens. In fact, the vaginal secretions of adult female have so high acidic levels that they kill pathogens near the skin on contact.

Clearly your skin does not cover you from head to toe in one solid sheet. The cavities that we have in our skin, such as our nostrils and mouths, have to be protected to keep pathogens out or the skin's existence shall go in vain.

Specific Defense

Primary Response

If a pathogen manages to get into your bloodstream, you're not beaten yet! All cell membranes have protein coats that line the outside of them. Early on, when you were still developing as a baby, your body begins learning which cells belong to you and which don't. Now, your developed body has a good idea of whether cells are pathogens or not. This is accomplished by two defense mechanisims, humoral and cell mediated.

Specific Response Immune Cells

Before one takes a view at the specific defenses, an understanding of the cells that operate them is necessary. Just like the countries defenses have specifically trained soldiers in each area, so does the immune system. T lymphocytes or T cells, along with macrophages, oversee the Cell mediated response, while the B lymphocites or B cells take charge of the Humoral Response.

Cell Mediated

If a macrophage, a white blood cells whose job it is to protect the body from infection, comes across with a pathogen by noticing its foreign protein coat, then it will begin the ingenious process to destroy it. The macrophages engulf the pathogen and read and display its protein coat identifiers on its own external membrane. There are also T-cells, called so because of their place or production, the thymus gland, which come in multiple forms, one of which is the T4-cell, or T-helper cell. These T-helper cells, when coming in contact with a macrophage that has engulfed and is marking the destroyed pathogen proteins, read the coat identifiers and begin releasing harmones called lymphokins.


These lymphokins signal another form of T-cells, T8 cells, or Killer T-cells, to begin dividing. The killer T-cells looks for infected cells (those surrounded with macrophages) and kills them. They will also kill agglutinated masses of that pathogen if it finds any. Agglutinated masses of pathogens are made by the binding of antibodies to the pathogen membrane, somewhat similar to wrapping several chewed pieces of bubble gum around a white baseball. These killer T-cells recognizes and kills only pathogens or agglutinated masses that are the same as the one that started the process. We call this whole killer T-cell process the "cell-mediated response".

The same lymphokins that signaled the killer T-cells also signals the B-cells to start in their production of antibodies. Their purpose differs greatly from that of the killer T-cells. They begin manufacturing antibodies into the bloodstream. Antibodies are 'Y' shaped proteins that recognize and latch onto pathogens, again only to those that are the same as the pathogen that were engulfed by an immune cell. Each upper stem of the 'Y' can bind to a pathogen; in other words, each antibody can hold two pathogens together. Many antibodies binding many pairs of pathogens together begin binding to some pathogens that are already bound to others; that is, they group the pathogens into a large mass. This process of binding pathogens together is calledagglutination. We call this entire B-cell process the "humoral response".


We know that entire process, happening only the first time that specific form of pathogen enters you body, as the Primary Response.

Secondary Response

Neither the killer T-cells nor the B-cells just die off after they kill the pathogen. When their job is done, they leave behind memory cells. These memory cells are cells that stay behind and watch for the pathogen. If they find one, they start multiplying to kill it. Memory killer T-cells make killer T-cells and memory B-cells make B-cells. This process is so immediate and so explosive that the pathogen is killed off before it has a chance to infect you. Because of that, you are immune to that pathogen. We know memory cells giving immunity as the Secondary Response.

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