The body of a healthy person with physiologically normal adaptive abilities has a significant potential for self-regulation and self-healing.
It would seem that for all of us to maintain health, it is enough to lead an active lifestyle and follow the principles of a balanced diet, avoiding bad habits. However, technological progress, rapid urbanization of society, and rapid deterioration of the environmental situation on a global scale have radically changed our environment.
Despite the variety of factors that have an adverse effect on the immune system, the ability of a person to adapt to changes in the environment with the help of natural powerful mechanisms of protection is very high and reliable. However, a certain level of knowledge is necessary for the rational use of our body's capabilities.
There are no magic pills that will rid us of pathogenic viruses, bacteria, toxins, allergens, and the effects of air, soil, and water pollution.
We can try to protect ourselves by using the opportunities given to us by nature.
The immune system what it is.
The word immunity comes from the latin immunitas, which means liberation. The immune system eliminates and protects the human body from genetically foreign substances-antigens. They are of both external and internal origin.
By protecting us from invading antigens, the immune system preserves the structural and functional integrity of the body, as well as its genetic identity.
Antigens are any structures and substances of various origin that bear signs of genetic foreignness, causing the development of immune responses aimed at removing all foreign from the body.
Usually antigens are foreign particles, cells, bacteria, large molecules (proteins, polysaccharides) of an alien organism.
Even their own body structures can become alien if for some reason (aging, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, etc.) surface antigens appear on cells that are genetically different from the tissues of the human body.
In this case, the immune system recognizes the body's tissue as an enemy and begins to destroy it. This, for example, occurs in autoimmune thyroiditis – a disease in which the body begins to attack the thyroid tissue.
Like any body system, the immune system has its own organs, tissues, cells, and molecules. And in order to understand how immune reactions occur, immunity decreases, allergies appear and, most importantly, how to deal with these problems, it is very important to know exactly how our protective system functions.
Organs of the human immune system.
The immune system secretes:
central organs where immune system cells originate, multiply and mature;
peripheral, where these cells function.
Central organs of the immune system.
Bone marrow: as its name implies, it is located in human bones: ribs, pelvic bones. The bone marrow is a source of stem (immature) cells for the immune system, which are able to self-renew, divide and transform (differentiate) into the main immune cells – B-lymphocytes.
The bone marrow is also a source of pretimocytes, from which T-lymphocytes are later born in the thymus gland.
Thymus: this organ is also called the thymus gland. It is located in the upper part of the chest. The thymus gland grows in humans from birth and reaches its maximum size by puberty. Then, with age, the thymus begins to atrophy, shrink in size.
The thymus gland is the center of immunological surveillance: it is the formation of T-lymphocytes from bone marrow precursors and their training of specific functions. The thymus gland also produces thymus factors – special hormones that control T-lymphocytes.
Peripheral organs of the immune system.
Lymph nodes: these organs of the immune system are located throughout the human body and often make up groups or clusters of up to ten pieces in one. The lymph nodes have two immune functions:
Detain foreign antigens, tumor cells, destroy old red blood cells (red blood cells).
They are the site of the development of the immune response after the interaction of T-and B-lymphocytes with the antigen and among themselves, as well as the production of protective antibodies by B-lymphocytes.
Spleen: this organ is located in the upper left part of the abdominal cavity, behind the stomach. The spleen performs the same function as the lymph nodes.
The lymphoid system of mucous membranes: it includes the Palatine tonsils, accumulations of lymphoid tissue in the respiratory organs, intestinal walls, in the mucous and submucosal membranes of the urinary tract and parts of the sexual sphere. The lymphoid tissue of the mucous membranes forms a system in which cells that synthesize protective antibodies circulate: immunoglobulins E and A (IgE and IgA), secretory immunoglobulins A, M, G and interferon.
The appendicular process or appendix: is an appendage of one of the parts of the intestine – the caecum. It takes the reproduction of b-lymphocytes, activated (sensitized) by intestinal bacteria.
Blood: with the blood flow, the immune system cells are transported to the site of introduction of foreign antigens.
The work of the immune system is provided by its components: cells and active molecules produced by them, which take part in protecting the body from everything foreign and substandard.
The main cellular components of the immune system include all blood leukocytes, which are called immunocompetent cells (ICCS).
The percentage of ICK content in human blood, the so-called leukocyte formula presented in the clinical blood analysis, is, in fact, the primary immunogram that determines the main parameters of the body's immune defense and reflects to a certain extent the nature and activity of certain pathological processes.
White blood cells ensure the functioning of the immune system as direct participants and as producers of most immune molecules.
Unlike other blood cells (red blood cells and platelets), white blood cells do not perform any functions in the bloodstream, the blood flow serves only as a transport for them. In the bloodstream is only 1-2 % of the total number of white blood cells in the body.
White blood cells perform their protective functions directly in organs and tissues.
There are five main types of white blood cells:
Types of immunity.
Currently, the general system of immunity is divided into two divisions:
Innate (non-specific) immunity.
Non-Specific (innate, natural) immunity is a system of protective factors of the body. It is inherited. Innate immunity is usually caused by constantly present protective factors in the body. They are most active in the first 4-6 hours after the introduction of the microbe into the body, then participating in the development of acquired (specific) immunity.
Innate immunity and acquired immunity later work synchronously, strengthening each other.
Conditionally, factors of innate immunity can be divided into physical (anatomical), physiological, cellular and humoral, which also include normal intestinal microflora. Also separate the normal microflora of the mucous membranes.
Acquired (specific) immunity.
Acquired immunity is also called adaptive. It is not inherited and is acquired in the course of a person's life.
Acquired immunity is formed by the specific interaction of cells of the immune system with an antigen, resulting in the appearance of lymphocytes and antibodies that specifically recognize a specific antigen and neutralize its potentially harmful effects on the body.
This property is based on the action of vaccines – they introduce the immune system, for example, with the measles virus (this is an antigen), and it in response produces antibodies that protect the body when this virus invades from the natural environment.
Acquired immunity can be divided into two components:
Immune system function.
The immune system protects against infectious agents, removes foreign, malignant or altered, aging cells, ensures the process of fertilization and fetal development, promotes the beginning of labor, and implements an aging program.
In accordance with the clinical orientation, the types of immunity are usually divided into:
Immunodeficiency is a change in immunity caused by defects in one or more immune response mechanisms. They are divided into primary-innate and secondary-acquired.
Primary immunodeficiency - immune disorders with which a person is born, they are associated with genetic defects in the development of the immune system.
Secondary immunodeficiency (TYPE) - acquired disorders of the immune system. They are not the result of a genetic defect and develop at a late stage of intrauterine development of a child or in adults when the body is exposed to some damaging factor.
Secondary immunodeficiency is a clinical and immunological syndrome that develops against the background of a previously normally functioning immune system, characterized by a steadily pronounced decrease in its quantitative and functional indicators.
As a result of secondary immunodeficiency, the risk of developing chronic infectious, autoimmune, allergic and oncological diseases is formed.
Secondary immunodeficiency is a violation of the immune system that develops after the birth of a child and is characterized by chronic infectious and inflammatory diseases that are resistant to traditional therapy.
Basic principles of immunotherapy and immunoprophylaxis.
In the modern view, immunotherapy is a number of areas of clinical immunology that combine a single pathogenetic approach to the treatment of various diseases that use methods to influence the functioning of the immune system.
Immunoprophylaxis includes various methods of influencing the immune system that are used to prevent the development of diseases or their recurrence, that is, re-occurrence.
Immunocorrection is a set of treatment methods that provide correction of defects in the immune system.
Along with immunotherapy methods, immunocorrection includes reconstructive operations – transplantation or removal of organs and cells of the immune system (thymus, bone marrow), as well as methods of gene therapy for immunodeficiency.
Immunocorrective therapy is conditionally divided into extraimmune therapy, which consists of the use of non-specific immunocorrectors (vitamin & mineral complexes, biologically active additives, antioxidants) and immunotherapy itself.
In the first case applies a set of effects and preparations to improve the General condition of the body, in the second case, the complex effects of drugs aimed primarily at improving the immune system.
This division is very conditional, like any other concerning the living system:
it is obvious that drugs aimed at improving the overall condition of the body;
vitamins, adaptogens, trace elements, and so on, will affect the cells of the immune system.
It is also obvious that those drugs that we think primarily affect the immune system will act directly or indirectly on other organs and tissues of the body.
Extraimmune therapy consists in the appointment of a complex of non-specific means and effects aimed at improving the overall condition of the body and its metabolism.
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