Country: United States
Date: February 2006
What is the difference between innate immunity,
antibody immunity, and cellular immunity?
Biologists, for convenience, have divided the body into systems...digestive,
reproductive, nervous, immune etc. Of course, our bodies are unaware of
this and go about their business in total disregard of the artificial
boundaries we set on their workings. We then take the next step and divide
Biologists (which can be painful) into geneticists, ecologists,
physiologists, immunologists etc.
Those functions of the body that help us prevent disease, especially
infectious diseases, are often looked upon as "part of the immune
system".The skin is our first line of defense to infectious agents and
can be looked
at as innate...(Latin derivative* innatis*...to be born)...we are all born
with this ability...and the skin doesn't have to "have experience" with
germs to perform its function (this of course is not entirely true, since
germs that populate our skin do help us fight disease to a certain extent).
Immunologists often divide the immune system into two parts: Humoral and
cellular. Humoral immunity (the funny part of the immune system) is
primarily executed by the action of antibodies (this is why anteaters seldom
get sick...because of all the antibodies they eat (-: ) and the cellular
immune system operates mostly through cells. I don't like this any more
than I expect any perspicuous student who realizes that the humoral system
cannot function without the cellular system, and the cellular system uses more
than just cells to function. I hope, and expect, that this organizational
structure will become extinct.
There are also innate functions of both the cellular and humoral systems.
That is, sometime it operates in ways that don't depend on any "learning" or
experience. Nevertheless, much of the immune system functions more
effectively against germs to which it has been exposed and that is the
reason for vaccinations...expose the immune system to a non-disease causing
form of a germ and when it is exposed to the disease-causing form of the
same germ (or similar) germ it will react quicker and more effectively.
Examples of innate immunity are PAMP's (Pathogen-Associated Molecular
Patterns), PRR's (Pattern Recognition Receptors), Phagocytosis Receptors and
Toll-Like Receptors. Look these up on a search engine like Google. Antibody
immunity (also known as humoral immunity) is the presence of antibodies in
blood and other tissues that react with invading bacteria and viruses.
Cellular immunity refers to T cells that can bind to invading organisms.
Ron Baker, Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012