Immune system: the body’s biological shield against a continuous onslaught of pathogens
The immune system is essential to everyone’s health and survival, and it has become a critical component of medical discovery, healthcare, and disease management.
Immunology: study of the structure and functions of the immune system, which contains the organs, tissues, cells, and cell products that protect our body from disease
Immune defense: the coordinated reaction of the many parts of the immune system to fight disease-causing agents, such as viruses and bacteria, and to keep damaged cells from becoming malignant
Inflammation: the gathering of immune system cells and molecules at a site of infection, a protective response that causes swelling, redness, and pain
Prolonged or mis-regulated inflammation harms body tissues. Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, ulcers, and frailty in old age appear to be linked to chronic inflammation triggered by the immune response.
Adhesion molecules: sticky cell surface molecules that facilitate intercellular binding and communication
Antigen: a foreign substance recognized by the immune system
Autoimmunity: when the immune system attacks healthy tissue, or “self”
B cells: immune cells that mature in the bone marrow
Complement system: proteins in the bloodstream that provide first-response immunity
Immune cell migration: how and why an immune cell travels the bloodstream and lymphatic system and then enters infected or healthy tissue
Primary immune deficiency: when the immune system becomes compromised and leaves the body open to infection and disease
T cells: immune cells that mature in the thymus
Transgenic mice: genetically altered mice that serve as disease models for experimentation