The Immune System

The immune system is a network of many interdependent cell types that collectively protect the body from bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral infections and from the growth of tumor cells. The immune system's job is a complicated process that involves a coordinated effort of its many components throughout your body. All cells of the immune system are initially derived from the bone marrow. These cells include T lymphocytes, natural killer cells, B cells, polymorphonuclear (PMN) leukocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells.

Bone marrow derived stem cells differentiate into mature cells or into precursors of cells that migrate out of the bone marrow to mature elsewhere. B cells, natural killer cells, PMNs, and prothymacytes (immature T cells) are produced by the bone marrow as well as red blood cells and platelets. The thymus produces mature T cells that are released into the blood stream. The spleen is an immunological filter that captures foreign materials passing through it.

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In the bloodstream, migratory macrophages and dendritic cells present antigens to the T-cells to initiate an immune response. B cells become activated and produce large amounts of antibody. Lymph nodes filter lymph and are found throughout the body. They are mostly composed of T cells, B cells, dendritic cells and macrophages. Antigens are filtered out of the lymph fluid in the node before the lymph is returned to the circulation. The captured antigens are presented to the T and B cells initiating an immune response.

Prolonged stress and poor nutrition have been shown in countless studies to suppress immune system function. This suppressive effect is recognized by scientific consensus. Unfortunately, each of these factors are a part of our normal lives and for all practical purposes not avoidable.

If you would like to know more about the immune system we recommend the following web site for your review. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/immunesystem/Pages/default.aspx

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