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Name: Mackenzie
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: WI
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* 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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