Immune system abnormality

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to antigen and interfering with the antigen's role before encouraging phagocytes to enter the area. memory cells are T cells and B cells that are held in "storage" by the body to attack antigen that has already entered. They recognize and recall the antigen and induce a quick response to it.

There are also suppressor t cells. They are used to shut off the immune system when the antigen has been eliminated from the body. Their role is not fully understood. The final lymphocyte is the natural killer (nk) cell. NK cells recognize foreign cells of multiple antigen types. They are not relegated to being informed of a specific antigen but may attack quickly by recognizing many types of foreign cells.

immune system abnormality A deviation in the normal functioning of the immune system.

immune thrombocytopenic purpura See idiopathic THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA.

immune tolerance Acquired inability to react to particular self- or non-self-antigens. Both B cells and T cells display tolerance, generally to their specific antigen classes. The concentration of antigen required to induce tolerance in neonatal B cells is 100-fold less than for adult B cells.

immune-based therapies Treatments intended to have their effect by enhancing the general activity of the immune system or by specifically modulating the activity of some of its components. They may be used to help restore a person's general immune responsiveness, suppress specific viral infections, or counteract the bone marrow toxicity of some of the drugs used for HIV-related conditions. Hope is placed in these substances because they promise to reduce the pill burden of HIV patients. Drugs used in such therapies include preparations of antibodies and drugs that stimulate production of red and white blood cells, cytokines, and other immune modulators. Vaccines are also immune therapy drugs. Specific drugs used in immune-based therapies include cyclosporine, cytomegalovirus immune globulin, hepatitis B immunoglobulin, interleukin-2 (IL-2 or Proleukin), HIV-1 immunogen (Salk Vaccine or

Remune), epoetin alpha (Procrit), interferon, and gm-csf. There is also a hope that gene-based therapy may also hold promise for HIV patients. Researchers are studying the possibility of inserting anti-HIV genes that would make a person's T cells immune to destruction by HIV. It would ideally assist the individual with keeping the virus at bay. Many different immune-based therapies are being studied to find potential therapies for HIV. To date no studies have shown these immune-based therapies to increase a person's life expectancy nor to work effectively and safely to decrease HIV in the body.

immunity The state of being resistant to or protected from a disease. Immunity is usually induced by exposure to the antigenic marker on an organism that invades the body or by administration of a vaccine that has the capability of stimulating production of specific antibodies (immunization). Immunity is also the response of the body and its tissues to a variety of antigens, including pollens, red cells, transplanted tissues, or the individual's own cells.

Acquired immunity is also called specific or adaptive immunity. This is the type of immunity that is learned immunity. The body learns how to respond to certain antigens by being exposed to them and it develops the best way to respond to these antigens and remembers it. Acquired immunity can be divided into two parts: cell-mediated, resulting from activation of sensitized T lymphocytes that are created in the bone marrow but mature in the thymus, and humoral immunity, mediated by B lymphocytes that mature in the bone marrow and the SPLEEN.

Acquired immunity is contrasted with natural or innate immunity, a more or less permanent immunity to disease with which an individual is born, the result of natural factors. Natural immunity may be due to the natural presence of immune bodies, but other factors such as diet, metabolism, temperature, or adaptive features of infectious organisms may be involved. Congenital immunity is natural immunity present at birth and may be natural or acquired; the latter results from antibodies received from the blood of the mother. This system is made up of white blood cells called macrophages, eosinophils, basophils, and

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