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Defense Mechanism of the Body

Tika Ram Gurung Coordinator Oasis Medical College

Defense

mechanism literally or etymologically it

means:

Defense: Protection against attack Mechanism: the system or the way in which something works Body: the physical form of person or animal

Hence,

defense mechanism of body is also termed immunity, may be defined as, the system or the way in which the body protects itself against the attack of microorganism.

Human

body continuously encounters with potentially pathogenic microorganisms. and diseases are usually prevented or minimized because a healthy body has a range of defense mechanisms to protect them, called Immunity. The study of defense mechanisms of body is called Immunology.

Infections

External

defense mechanism (1st line of

defense)
Internal

defense mechanism

Non specific defense mechanism (2nd line of defense) Specific defense mechanism (3rd line of defense)

It

comprises following:
Skin Mucous membrane Chemical factors

Skin:

Skin is hostile to microorganism because it consists of tissues, which are keratinized and water proof. has number of sebaceous gland that consists of sebum, which is antimicrobial.

It

Normal flora present on the skin produces unsaturated fatty acid, which prevent the entry of other foreign organism.

Mucus

Membrane: the mucus membrane contain

mucous gland which secret mucus. In addition, this mucous contains lysozyme, which is anti-microbial.
Chemical

factor: pH of the gastro-intestinal tract,

i.e., stomach is almost 1 to 2 pH, which is acidic and is unfavorable for micro-organism which are pathogenic.

Internal

defense mechanism refers to phagocytic cells, interferon, natural killer (NK) cells, humoral immunity (bone marrow derived lymphocytes; Bcells) cellular immunity (thymus derived lymphocytes; T-cells) or combination of these (both B and T cells). can be further classified in two categories,
Non specific defense mechanism & Specific defense mechanism

It

Non specific defense mechanism &

There are different mechanisms involved in nonspecific defense mechanism. They include;
Phagocytic cell, Interferon and, Natural killer cells

Phagocytic cell: Phagocytic cells are a group of WBC i.e., neutrophill and monocyte. They can engulf foreign particles or mocro-organism, and also called eat cells.

Interferon: Interferon are the defensive protein

synthesized by the host cell.

They are non-specific to bacteria but plays important role in case of viruses or viral infections. They do not attack bacteria but attack different types of viruses.

Natural killer cells: Nk cells are large granular cells, morphologically quite similar to lymphocytes. They are thought to be important in resistance to virus infections and probably also in malignancy. They are actually lymphocyte and are very important cells to provide immunity. It can destroy virally infected cells and tumors cells.

It

is also called 3rd line defense, which acts against of specific group of micro-organism when foreign body enters into the host cell. immunity

Active

Humoral immunity Cellular immunity Combination of the above

Passive

immunity

Immunoglobulin

It is the immunity which an individual develops as a result of infection or by specific immunization and is usually associated with presence of antibodies or cells having a specific action on the microorganism concerned with a particular infectious disease or on its toxin. In the other words, active immunity depends upon the humoral and cellular responses to the host. The immunity produced is specific for particular disease, i.e., the individual in most cases is immune to further disease with the same organism or or antigenically related organism for varying periods depending upon the particular disease.

Active immunity may be acquired in 3 ways:


Following clinical infection, e.g., chickenpox, rubella and measles. Following subclinical or inapparent infection, e.g., polio and diphtheria Following immunization with an antigen which any be a killed vaccination, a live attenuated vaccine or toxoid.

Expanded program of immunization is good example for active immunization, which includes vaccines against TB, Polio, Diphtheria, Pertusis, Hepatitis- B, Tetanus and Measles. (JE in endemic area)

Humoral

immunity comes from the B-cells (bonemarrow derived lymphocytes) which proliferate and manufacture specific antibodies after antigen presentation by macrophages. antibodies are specific, i.e., they react with the same antigen which provoked their production, or a closely related one.

The

Although

antibodies are quite effective in combating most infectious diseases, humoral immunity does not cover all the situation that one finds in infectious diseases. example, some pathogens e.g., M. Leprae, M. tuberculosis, and many viruses escape the bactericidal action of leukocyte.

For

They

can even multiply in the mononuclear leukocyte. However, these macrophages can be stimulated by specific stimulated by substances secreted by specific stimulated T-lymphocytes. activated macrophages perform a much more efficient phagocytic function than non-activated macrophages.

The

In

addition to the B and T lymphoid cells which are responsible for recognizing self and non-self, very often, they co-operate with one another and with certain accessory cells such as macrophages and human K (Killer) cells, and their joint functions constitute the complex events of immunity.

When antibodies produced in one body are transferred to another to induce protection against disease, it is known as passive immunity. In other words, the body does not produce its own antibodies but depends upon ready-made antibodies. Passive immunity may be induced:
By administration of an antibody-containing preparation (immunoglobulin or antiserum) By transfer of maternal antibodies across the placenta. Human milk also contains protective antibodies, (IgA) By transfer of lymphocytes, to induce passive cellular immunity- this procedure is still experimental.

Immunoglobulin

are synthesized by plasma cells and also by lymphocytes. makes 20-25% of total serum protein.

It

Immunoglobulin

are of 5 types based on their size, carbohydrate content and amino acid analysis. are IgG, Ig-A, Ig-M, Ig-D, and Ig-E.

These

IgG:

is the major serum immunoglobulin in antibacterial immunity.

In

healthy adults it accounts for more than 70% of the immunoglobulin. In man, IgG is only a immunoglobulin that is transported across the placenta to reach the fetus and provide the newborn baby with passively acquired antibody during its early life.

IgA:

consists 10% of total serum globulin, which is found in body concentrations i.e., blood stream, saliva, genital secretion, colostrums, tears, respiratory, intestinal etc. Its prime function is to promote phagocytosis process.

IgM:

Often called macroglobulin, predominantly found intravascular and consist of 5-10% of serum immunoglobulin. It plays an important role in providing antibacterial activity. Its deficiency is associated with septicemia.

IgD:

It consisted 0.003 to 0.004 g/litter. IgD is mostly exclusively found on the surface of immature lymphocytes and may be involved in their maturation and regulation. It is very low about of 17-450 ng/ml. It binds firmly to mast cells and basophiles. antibodies are necessary for immediate hypersensitivity reaction.

IgE:

IgE:

Herd immunity is as the level of resistance of a community or a group of people for a particular disease. Herd immunity is a type of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of the portion of the population provides protection to un-vaccinated individuals. Maximum percentage (>80%) of the community is immunized the rest of the community people will enjoy protection for the disease as long as the herd structure is unaltered.

70 80% immunized

Decrease Susceptible

Primary caseZero secondary case

Primary caseLess secondary cases

Transmission Block

No disease / Elimination

SC

V V

U V

V
U V

PC

V V SC

V V SC V V

SC

V V
U V

U V