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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the development of immunological competence
  • Describe the mucosal immune response
  • Discuss immune responses against bacterial, viral, fungal, and animal pathogens
  • Describe different ways pathogens evade immune responses

Now that you understand the development of mature, naïve B cells and T cells, and some of their major functions, how do all of these various cells, proteins, and cytokines come together to actually resolve an infection? Ideally, the immune response will rid the body of a pathogen entirely. The adaptive immune response, with its rapid clonal expansion, is well suited to this purpose. Think of a primary infection as a race between the pathogen and the immune system. The pathogen bypasses barrier defenses and starts multiplying in the host’s body. During the first 4 to 5 days, the innate immune response will partially control, but not stop, pathogen growth. As the adaptive immune response gears up, however, it will begin to clear the pathogen from the body, while at the same time becoming stronger and stronger. When following antibody responses in patients with a particular disease such as a virus, this clearance is referred to as seroconversion (sero- = “serum”). Seroconversion is the reciprocal relationship between virus levels in the blood and antibody levels. As the antibody levels rise, the virus levels decline, and this is a sign that the immune response is being at least partially effective (partially, because in many diseases, seroconversion does not necessarily mean a patient is getting well).

An excellent example of this is seroconversion during HIV disease ( [link] ). Notice that antibodies are made early in this disease, and the increase in anti-HIV antibodies correlates with a decrease in detectable virus in the blood. Although these antibodies are an important marker for diagnosing the disease, they are not sufficient to completely clear the virus. Several years later, the vast majority of these individuals, if untreated, will lose their entire adaptive immune response, including the ability to make antibodies, during the final stages of AIDS.

Hiv disease progression

This graph shows the concentration of HIV viral particles in blood over time in years.
Seroconversion, the rise of anti-HIV antibody levels and the concomitant decline in measurable virus levels, happens during the first several months of HIV disease. Unfortunately, this antibody response is ineffective at controlling the disease, as seen by the progression of the disease towards AIDS, in which all adaptive immune responses are compromised.

Everyday connection

Disinfectants: fighting the good fight?

“Wash your hands!” Parents have been telling their children this for generations. Dirty hands can spread disease. But is it possible to get rid of enough pathogens that children will never get sick? Are children who avoid exposure to pathogens better off? The answers to both these questions appears to be no.

Antibacterial wipes, soaps, gels, and even toys with antibacterial substances embedded in their plastic are ubiquitous in our society. Still, these products do not rid the skin and gastrointestinal tract of bacteria, and it would be harmful to our health if they did. We need these nonpathogenic bacteria on and within our bodies to keep the pathogenic ones from growing. The urge to keep children perfectly clean is thus probably misguided. Children will get sick anyway, and the later benefits of immunological memory far outweigh the minor discomforts of most childhood diseases. In fact, getting diseases such as chickenpox or measles later in life is much harder on the adult and are associated with symptoms significantly worse than those seen in the childhood illnesses. Of course, vaccinations help children avoid some illnesses, but there are so many pathogens, we will never be immune to them all.

Could over-cleanliness be the reason that allergies are increasing in more developed countries? Some scientists think so. Allergies are based on an IgE antibody response. Many scientists think the system evolved to help the body rid itself of worm parasites. The hygiene theory is the idea that the immune system is geared to respond to antigens, and if pathogens are not present, it will respond instead to inappropriate antigens such as allergens and self-antigens. This is one explanation for the rising incidence of allergies in developed countries, where the response to nonpathogens like pollen, shrimp, and cat dander cause allergic responses while not serving any protective function.

Questions & Answers

all of the following substance move in in and out of cell except
Mohd Reply
all of the following substance move in and out of cells except
Mohd
Which signaling molecule is most likely responsible for an increase in digestive activity?
Tonya Reply
Hi I think it is DNA
libim
Homeostatasis return to the body to a healthy state after a stressful stimuli by producing
Ofosu Reply
There are some people suffering serious injured what will we do in doing X-ray?
Jefford Reply
observe bone arrangements n associated structures like soft tissues muscles in general the radiographical changes
Terry
epithelial tissue lines blood vessels
Laura Reply
what is difference between anabolism and catabolism in simple language
Chinaza Reply
anabolism simply means building up while catabolism breaking down
Maaruf
building up and breaking down
odeh
explain respiratory centers
Tharshana Reply
which enzyme help in excretion of bile
Sakshi Reply
how conversion of Beta-carotiene into vitamin-A takes place
Sakshi
best reference books for anatomy pls suggest that
Sakshi
what is gross anatomy
Saroj Reply
The study of large structure of the body
Mablean
macroscopic anatomy (Gross anatomy)
odeh
manipulation of structures without aid of microscope due to their size
libim
what is scrotum
Dakshit Reply
a bag of skin near the penis which contains the testicles
Mablean
hi
Sardar
its me Sardar from kpk pakistan
Sardar
Why are you on my digits
Mablean
hi
Kryme
it is part if male organ that hold testis in position it also regulates temperature
libim
how does it work?
Uriah Reply
I want to know the fertilization process in human
Nana Reply
Which plane divides the body into right and left parts
Kaeze
sagittal plane
Irvin
Thank you
Kaeze
Homestatic regulations usually involves a (n) _ that detects a particular stimulus, and a(n) _that respond to the stimulus by communicating with a (n) _whose activity has an effect on the same stimulus.
Kaeze
A cell is producing proteins to be transported out of that cell. They will be processed on ribosomes that are
Kaeze
what are diseases in the bood
Azoyenime Reply
Haemophilia
Aliyu
right hypochondriac rision how meain word
Ganesh Reply
Diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus would most likely be indicated by ________.
Ganesh
oral cavity how miean
Ganesh Reply
oral cavity how mean what
Suresh
seems to me every one is here a doctor and worse part is that even they donot know what to ask.
Muhammad
they know what to ask the problem is how to ask it.too much broken english.
George
dear George ongeche I think if they ask these kind questions and telling themselves as HCPs or medical student's .these are the basic ones go ask something more interesting .
Muhammad

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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