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Sorting Out Immune System Vocabulary

These notes are based on the book How the Immune System Works by Lauren Sompayrac

Types of Blood Cells

Erythrocytes are called Red Blood Cells. They carry oxygen, but are not part of the immune system.

All others are leukocytes also called White Blood Cells and are involved in the immune system.

Monocytes are immature macrophages circulating in the blood.

Killer T cells are also called cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL).

Macrophages are stationed throughout possible entry points and wait for an attacker to eat.

Dendritic Cells carry antigens to lymph notes and present them to activate helper T cells and killer T cells.

The lymph system is where immune information is shared and B and T cells are activated.

Eosinophil cells and mast cells work with IgE antibodies (see below) to attack parasites.

Antigens are the targets of the immune system

Epitopes are the specific parts of antigens that are targeted.

Cytokines are molecules used for communication between body cells.

Natural killer cells, macrophages, B cells, and T cells all have activated states.


Innate Immune System

Good for bacteria, fungi, viruses that have not entered body cells

Of limited effectiveness once viruses have entered cells

Macrophages and neutrophils are collectively called professional phagocytes

Adaptive Immune System

Necessary to deal more completely with viruses that have entered body cells

Antibodies are the components of the immune system that attach to antigens

Antibody classes determined by fc region of antibody

Antibodies are made by B Cells and can attach to organic molecules. Only those that do not attach to self molecules are allowed to mature.

Antigen presentation molecules

Made by activated B Cells, activated dendritic cells, and activated macrophages. These are collectively called antigen presenting cells (APC).

Components of Adaptive Immune System

Both B and T cells have memory forms for future protection


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Last updated: March 7, 2013

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