The immune system helps protect our bodies against diseases caused by pathogens. Pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, invade our bodies and cause infection and/or disease. The immune system’s complex system of cells, tissues, and organs protects us against invaders by attacking them while leaving healthy tissue alone. Doctors and scientists continue to work to learn more about how our immune system protects us from disease, though they already know a great deal.
For example, doctors and scientists know that the immune system is comprised of the innate system and immunity. The innate system includes the immune defenses we are born with, including skin, mucous membranes in our mouth and nose, gastric acid, and saliva. Immunity is the second line of defense that protects us against pathogens that make their way through the innate system. The immune system is housed in the blood as white blood cells or chemicals that are released by cells and tissues. Specialized white blood cells that aid in immunity are neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, and basophils; they move throughout the bloodstream and protect against infection caused by pathogens.
The immune system also helps encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut. This good bacteria is particularly good at fighting off invaders in the intestinal tract. One study found that gut microbiota interacts with both the innate and immune systems; therefore, people take probiotics to increase the amount of good bacteria in their systems and boost their immune system so they can better fight infection and disease.
Knowing how your immune system protects the body from disease helps you understand how to strengthen your immune system and the steps you can take to improve your health. To help you better understand the role the immune system plays in fighting disease, we have rounded up 50 top resources that are free of charge. The following articles, guides, videos, multimedia resources, and infographics explain the function of the immune system and offer a great deal of information from leading health organizations, research institutions, medical professionals, and other immune system experts. While we have included a Table of Contents to make it easier for you to find the resources of most interest to you, it is important to note that we have listed our 50 top resources for understanding how the immune system protects the body from disease in no particular order.
The Body is a complete resource for learning about HIV and AIDS. They share an introduction to the immune system and a detailed overview of the ways in which T cells respond to infection in someone without HIV versus someone with HIV.
Three key facts we like from How the Immune System Fights Disease:
- T cells as as the coordinators of the process of the immune system fighting disease, and when these cells can no longer function, other cells in the immune system cannot function, which leaves the body open to opportunistic infections
- The immune system uses antigens, which are proteins specific to each microorganisms, to differentiate invader organisms from healthy cells
- B cells produce millions of antibodies, or proteins that bind to antigens, to outnumber invaders and help the immune system rid the body of them
The most popular site that is dedicated to children’s health, KidsHealth.org is written by parents, educators, kids, and teens. Immune System, reviewed by Dr. Yamini Durani, is a KidsHealth.org article that gives a thorough description of the immune system and its functions, including fighting disease. The article features audio of the text and highlights it as it plays, which makes the article much easier to read.
Three key facts we like from Immune System:
- The immune system goes through a series of steps called the immune response, in order to attack the invaders that cause disease
- The immune system monitors the body for germs or invaders that cause infection and/or disease
- When antigens invade the body, several types of cells join forces to identify them and respond, such as triggering B lymphocytes to produce antibodies to destroy the antigens
Live Science delivers science news that covers top stories in health, environment, animals, technology, and space. Live Science contributor Kim Ann Zimmermann explores the function of the immune system, its components, and the ways in which it protects us from diseases in Immune System: Diseases, Disorders & Function.
Three key facts we like from Immune System: Diseases, Disorders & Function:
- One major component of the immune system is the lymph nodes, which produce and store cells that fight infection and disease as part of the lymphatic system
- The spleen is the largest lymphatic organ in the body, and it contains white blood cells that fight infection and disease
- B cells and T cells are two types of lymphocytes that attack bacteria, toxins, and cancer cells to help protect the body from disease
One of the most trusted sources of online medical information, Patient was voted Britain’s best and most popular health website. Their leaflet, The Immune System, gives an overview of the immune system and the ways in which it works to help us stay healthy and fight disease.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System:
- The immune system is the body’s defense against disease-causing microbes, or pathogens
- The immune system is capable of recognizing particular pathogens and remembering them, so that the body responds more quickly to infection after the first time you get it
- The thymus teaches white blood cells to recognize the body’s own cells so that they can differentiate between the body’s cells and invading pathogens
History of Vaccines is a website produced by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia that chronicles the history of vaccination. Their article, The Human Immune System and Infectious Disease, describes the process the immune system follows to protect the body and allow our survival.
Three key facts we like from The Human Immune System and Infectious Disease:
- Impairment of even one branch of the immune system makes the body more vulnerable to infection and disease
- White blood cells called phagocytes fight pathogens by surrounding them, taking them in, and neutralizing them
- The human body has B and T cells specific to millions of different antigens
The Human Diseases and Conditions Forum stars Body Defenses, an article that explains how the immune system acts as a defense against disease and infection. The article includes helpful definitions, images, and links so that readers can deepen their understanding of the ways in which the immune system protects the body from disease.
Three key facts we like from Body Defenses:
- The body’s physical barriers, such as skin, mucous membranes, and cilia act as the first line of defense against invaders that cause infection and disease
- The immune system is the body’s internal defense that is able to recognize and destroy invading substances and organisms to protect against disease
- In addition to white blood cells, the immune system includes other proteins and chemicals that aid antibodies and T cells in protecting the body
Science Learning Hub is a free multi-media teaching resource based on New Zealand science and biotech. The Body’s Second Line of Defence is one of Science Learning Hub’s articles detailing the components of the immune system and describing how each works to protect the body.
Three key facts we like from The Body’s Second Line of Defence:
- The cells, tissues, and organs of the immune system are the second line of defense against disease
- Each part of the lymphatic system has a specific function to ward off infection and disease
- When pathogens enter the body, neutrophils gather at the entry site to engulf it and destroy it; if they fail, the macrophages then attempt to engulf the invader and send signals to other cells to help
Cancer Research UK is a pioneer in life-saving research to bring about the day when all cancers are cured. Their Immune System and Cancer article explores how some treatments boost the immune system to help the body fight cancer.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System and Cancer:
- Some immune system cells recognize cancer cells and kills them
- New treatments are in development to use the immune system to fight cancer
- The body learns acquired immunity when it is exposed to diseases, which is why people get some diseases only one time
In this article about the immune system and its functions, HowStuffWorks founder Marshall Brain explores the complexities of the immune system. As Brain explains, the immune system always is working to protect our bodies from infection and disease.
Three key facts we like from How Your Immune System Works:
- The immune system protects your body in three ways by creating a barrier to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering your body, by detecting and eliminating invaders before they can reproduce, and by eliminating the problems caused by viruses and bacteria
- The immune system can detect cancer in its early stages and often eliminates it
- Lymph nodes contain filtering tissue and a number of lymph cells, and they swell when fighting bacterial infections as they fill with bacteria and the cells fighting the bacteria
Oregon State University seeks excellence and is the home of worldwide leaders and innovators. They offer the Unsolved Mysteries site for students, teachers, and others interested in environmental health sciences who want to learn by reading non-technical explanations from the Environmental Health and Sciences Center at OSU. Their Immune System and Foreign Invaders article explains how the immune system works as a defense system against disease-causing invaders in a reader-friendly fashion.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System and Foreign Invaders:
- White blood cells known as leukocytes make up the immune system portion of the blood
- Leukocytes are divided into three main groups that help protect our bodies: granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes
- The immune system recognizes cells that need to be attacked based on the proteins present on the surface of them
The Terrence Higgins Trust is a charity organization in the UK that works toward creating a world where people with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice. Their immune system article explains how HIV weakens the immune system and makes people vulnerable to infection and disease.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System and HIV:
- HIV damages the immune system’s CD4 cells
- T cells organize cells to produce antibodies to fight invaders and reduce the risk of infection and disease
- HIV attaches itself to CD4 cells and enters them before damaging and destroying the cell, which means that HIV destroys the immune system cells that work to keep people healthy
The Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences helps people use science to solve problem. The museum also helps people gain a better understanding of how the immune system protects the body from disease via Acquiring Immunity, Remembering Infections. This article examines how the immune system remembers previous exposure to invaders and protects the body from future infections.
Three key facts we like from Acquiring Immunity, Remembering Infections:
- Each time the body is exposed to viruses, bacteria, and other invaders, the immune system creates antibodies and immune cells that destroy the specific infectious organism
- The immune system remembers the infectious organism so that it can create a strong defense against it in the future
- When a person is exposed to the same disease multiple times, the immune system already members the infection and is able to fight it off more quickly
The Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund helps people reduce their cancer risk and assists in helping them choose the safest and most effective treatment. Dr. Jennifer Yttrium’s Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund article, Bacteria: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, explains how probiotics can boost our immune systems and promote good health. When our immune systems are stronger, they are better able to ward off infections and diseases.
Three key facts we like from Bacteria: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
- Good bacteria resides in our gut and helps develop a robust immune system
- When we have enough good bacteria in our body, the bad bacteria do not have as much opportunity to grow and cause disease
- The immune system needs the right combination of bacteria to keep us healthy
The National Institute on Aging is part of the National Institutes of Health. They explore whether the immune system weakens as we age in Immune System: Can Your Immune System Still Defend You As You Age?
Three key facts we like from Immune System: Can Your Immune System Still Defend You As You Age?:
- For older Americans, it may take longer to fight off colds and feel better than it does for younger Americans; gerontologists are trying to learn whether the immune system works as well as we age
- Research shows that innate immune cells lose some of their ability to communicate with each other as we age
- Older people produce fewer naive T cells, so they are less able to fight off disease
The Scientist explores life and inspires innovation. Jamie Green and Charlotte Ariyan’s The Scientist article, Deploying the Body’s Army, explores how doctors and scientists are using patients’ immune systems to fight cancer.
Three key facts we like from Deploying the Body’s Army:
- Immune modulation to treat cancer involves immunotherapy agents that augment the normal immune system and increase the body’s ability to fight tumors
- Cancer immunotherapy has been showing promise in all stages of clinical development, putting the treatments in a position to change the way doctors approach cancer management
- Cancer immunotherapy may be able to prolong the lives of cancer patients who were thought to have terminal cancer, especially in the form of kidney cancer and malignant melanoma
h+ Magazine covers technological, scientific, and cultural trends that change humans in fundamental ways. In his h+ magazine article, The Immune System Protects Us Against Cancer, Josh Mitteldorf explains that harnessing the power of the immune system appears to be a more effective way of battling cancer than using radiation and chemotherapy.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System Protects Us Against Cancer:
- The immune system can detect and eliminate cancer cells, just as it does invading pathogens
- Immune response weakens in older people, making them more susceptible to cancer
- There has been success in immune cell transplants from healthy donors to cancer patients, but a serious and sometimes fatal side effect is graft-vs-host disease because transplanted immune cells attack the patient’s healthy cells in addition to the cancer cells
The Body’s First Line of Defence reminds readers that the immune system is not made up of internal blood cells and the lymph system. The article focuses on our external barriers against disease and infection, such as our skin and tears.
Three key facts we like from The Body’s First Line of Defence:
- The physical and chemical barriers that make up our outside defense system against disease and infection are always working to protect the body
- The first line of defense includes our skin, tears, mucus, cilia, stomach acid, urine, good bacteria, and specific white blood cells known as neutrophils
- The body activates its second line of defense when the first line of defense fails
Scientific American is an authoritative source for the most important science discoveries and technology innovations. Bret Stetka’s Scientific American article, Important Link between the Brain and Immune System Found, explains that doctors and scientists are rethinking neurologic disease now that a new line of communication between the brain and immune system has been found.
Three key facts we like from Important Link between the Brain and Immune System Found:
- The brain has a lymphatic system that links it directly to the immune system
- The brain does not receive the quick response from the immune system that other parts of the body do
- There is a chance that the immune response from meningeal lymphatic vessels causes multiple sclerosis, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease
Mark Sisson, former elite runner and triathlete, is author of The Primal Blueprint and blogger at MarksDailyApple.com. Mark’s article, Gut Flora and Your Healthy Immune System, explores the link between the good bacteria in our gut and the health of our immune system. As Mark explains, the healthier our immune system is, the better it protects us from disease.
Three key facts we like from Gut Flora and Your Healthy Immune System:
- Our gut flora play a critical role in mediating our immune response
- The gastrointestinal tract houses nearly 70% of our immune system
- Intestinal flora aids in determining the quality of our mucosal immune system in several ways: it provides a physical barrier to colonization by foreign microbes, it communicates with certain features of the immune system to help them focus on invading microbes, and it influences the growth and formation of organs critical to proper immune function
Everyday Health helps people take better care of themselves and their families through weight-loss tools, advice, and health news and information. Should You Be Taking Probiotics for Crohn’s Disease? explores the ways in which probiotics aid our bodies, including helping people who live with Crohn’s disease.
Three key facts we like from Should You Be Taking Probiotics for Crohn’s Disease?:
- The immune system in people with Crohn’s disease attacks organisms that it identifies as invaders, even though they are helpful microorganisms
- Dr. Bruce Silverman, a gastroenterologist, believes that probiotics can tame an overly aggressive immune system and keep Crohn’s flareups in check
- Probiotics replace the microorganisms the immune systems of Crohn’s sufferers attack, and Bifidobacteria is a good choice for people with Crohn’s because the immune system recognizes these organisms as belonging in the body
BioMed Central is an open access publisher of science, medicine, and technology research. They share Probiotics and Immunity: Provisional Role for Personalized Diets and Disease Prevention, an article from the EPMA Journal by Rostyslav V. Bubnov, Mykola Ya Spivak, Liudmyla M. Lazarenko, Alojz Bomba, and Nadia V. Boyko. The article explores the authors’ study on the interaction between diet and immune system and their effect on disease prevention.
Three key facts we like from Probiotics and Immunity: Provisional Role for Personalized Diets and Disease Prevention:
- Designing probiotic treatments and diets personalized to individuals better corrects the gut microbiome and the immune system’s ability to protect the body from disease
- Metabolic profiling, including gut microbiota, will help researchers better determine how to use probiotics and diet to improve the immune system and fight disease
- Bifidobacteria and other strains of probiotics may be a sound preventive medical approach to reducing the risk of disease
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a series of sites dedicated to what you need to know about, including infectious disease. How Pathogens Make Us Sick is one of the articles in the How Infection Works series, and it explains the process the immune system undergoes to help our bodies fight infection and disease.
Three key facts we like from How Pathogens Make Us Sick:
- Disease typically occurs in a small proportion of infected people whose cells become damaged as a result of infection and exhibit signs and symptoms of an illness
- Fever, sluggishness, headache, and rash often result from the immune system working to eliminate infection from the body
- Pathogens challenge the immune system in many ways, from killing cells to disrupting cell function, and our immune system responds by sending white blood cells, antibodies, and other mechanisms to rid us of the invaders
Bayer is a global enterprise in the life science fields of health care and agriculture. Research is the Bayer scientific magazine that offers Unleashing the Immune Response to Cancer, an article that explores the steps cancer researchers are taking to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight against cancer.
Three key facts we like from Unleashing the Immune Response to Cancer:
- Researchers are working on innovative immunotherapies to mobilize cancer patients’ own immune systems to fight cancer
- Immunotherapies may help cancer patients in the advanced stage of the disease
- The challenge with using immunotherapy to treat cancer is that cancer cells emit inhibitory signals and suppress the immune system’s attack on cancer cells
AIDS.gov provides HIV and AIDS information to readers. Their Immune System 101 shares images and diagrams to help us understand how our immune system works, how it protects us from disease, and how HIV impedes the process.
Three key facts we like from Immune System 101:
- Bone marrow is responsible for making the white blood cells that become lymphocytes and fight disease
- Lymph nodes produce and store cells that fight infection and disease
- The spleen contains white blood cells that fight disease and infection
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a world leader in research and education. In this article, MIT shares information from a study that found immune cells play a critical role in combatting malaria in early stages of infection.
Three key facts we like from How the Immune System Fights Off Malaria:
- Researchers have identified a key host defense mechanism that will help them learn how the immune system interacts with the pathogen that causes malaria
- Specifically, NK cells are a critical immune system component when it comes to early control of malaria
- NK cells latch onto infected cells for a longer period of time in order to kill them
Pure Research Products, LLC, offers Del-Immune V, a unique immune booster derived from probiotics that provides immediate, natural immune system support. They also offer A Guide to Your Immune System: How It Works, What It Does and How It Keeps Us Healthy, which describes the functions and processes of the immune system and its quest to protect us from disease.
Three key facts we like from A Guide to Your Immune System: How It Works, What It Does and How It Keeps Us Healthy:
- The immune system has many components, and many of them circulate throughout the body to seek out and destroy pathogens that cause disease
- The immune system determines whether cells belong in the body by identifying the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA molecules) on their surface
- The immune system utilizes innate immune response and adaptive immune response to help protect us from disease
Merck Manual Home is an online medical guide for the whole family. Dr. Peter J. Delves shares this consumer version of the Overview of the Immune System to help readers better understand the processes and functions of the immune system, including how it protects the body from disease.
Three key facts we like from Overview of the Immune System:
- The immune system is designed to defend the body against invaders that include microorganisms, parasites, cancer cells, and transplanted organs and tissues
- The immune system defends against disease and infection via physical barriers, white blood cells, antibodies, complement proteins, and certain organs
- Successful immune responses include recognition of invaders, activation and mobilization of the various immune system components, regulation of the immune response, and resolution of the invader that results in its elimination
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a top cancer treatment center that united doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children’s. Their Brief Guide to the Immune System explains how cancer tricks the immune system and how doctors are using immunotherapy to educate the immune system to help it fight cancer.
Three key facts we like from A Brief Guide to the Immune System:
- A genetic disease, cancer causes tumor cells to grow without much intervention from the immune system because the tumor cells are native to the body
- Some cancers are difficult for the immune system to eliminate because they create the chemicals that spur an immune response shutdown
- Immunotherapy uses various components of a patient’s immune system to fight cancer
John and Hank Green and friends teach viewers all sorts of subjects via Crash Course videos on YouTube. In this video, Hank describes the ways in which the immune system protects our bodies from the invaders that cause disease.
Three key facts we like from Your Immune System: Natural Born Killer – Crash Course Biology #32:
- We have innate immunity, which responds to all pathogens in the same, non-specific way
- Acquired immunity requires the body to learn the pathogens before it attacks them
- The digestive tract acts as another skin for our body and aids in keeping out pathogens
The Immune System Explained I – Bacteria Infection is a video from Kurzgesagt that explains how the immune system functions. Via color-coding and simple explanations, the video makes it much easier to understand how the immune system protects us.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System Explained I – Bacteria Infection:
- Many immune system cells have multiple functions to aid in protecting the body from invaders
- The immune system is immensely complex
- Known as guard cells, macrophages are large immune system cells that often stave off infection and disease alone, because each can devour up to 100 intruders
Examfear Videos is a YouTube channel that offers free educational sources on physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry to help students and others learn more about the concepts associated with those particular subjects. Biology Human Health & Diseases Part 18 (Human Immune System) Class 12 XII provides an overview of immunity and the ways in which the immune system helps fight disease.
Three key facts we like from Biology Human Health & Diseases Part 18 (Human Immune System) Class 12 XII:
- The immune system recognizes and responds to pathogens by identifying them and then storing them in memory so they are able to attack them more quickly and effectively in the future
- The human immune system is comprised of lymphoid organs including the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, and Peyer’s patches of the small intestine
- Various lymphoid organs trap pathogens and provide the platform for the lymphocytes to attack them
3D artist Kyle Thornthwaite animated this immune system video for the Cancer Research Institute of West Tennessee. The video describes how the natural killer cells, or lymphocytes, aggressively attack invaders to protect the body.
Three key facts we like from Immune System – Natural Killer Cell:
- Lymphocytes are part of the innate immune system
- Natural killer cells do not need to recognize an invader before releasing their toxins and destroying them
- Lymphocytes target cancer cells and target a variety of infectious microbes
CBS This Morning has made the news the focus of the morning, and this video shares the news that researchers and doctors are tapping into the immune system to fight cancer. CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook and CBS News contributor Dr. Holly Phillips also discuss the importance of getting a second opinion when it comes to diagnoses.
Three key facts we like from Cancer Study Looks at Using Immune System to Fight Disease:
- The body struggles to differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells, so the immune system is better able to attack highly the mutated cancer cells that occur in some cancer patients
- In clinical trials, patients who were given an immune-boosting drugs had positive effects, such as their tumors shrinking or stopping growth
- Immunotherapy may help cancer patients avoid ineffective, costly treatments
Shaun Donnelly is head of science at a Manchester school and a science evangelist who wants to deliver great science lessons to students. That’s why he presents free science lessons on YouTube, such as GCSE Biology Revision: Pathogens and the Immune System. This video defines pathogens and takes a look at how bacteria and viruses affect the body.
Three key facts we like from GCSE Biology Revision: Pathogens and the Immune System:
- Pathogens are microorganisms that cause infectious disease
- Pathogens include bacteria and viruses
- White blood cells protect us from pathogens in three ways: ingesting pathogens and destroying them, producing antibodies that destroy certain bacteria and viruses, and producing antitoxins that counteract toxins released by pathogens
The Truth About Cancer is on a mission to educate the world and empower people with knowledge about all types of cancer treatments. In this YouTube video, Dr. James Forsythe, oncologist, speaks about the importance of a strong immune system when it comes to fighting cancer.
Three key facts we like from Why You Need a Strong Immune System to Fight Cancer – Dr. James Forsythe:
- If your immune system is compromised or weak, you are more vulnerable to diseases like cancer; this especially is true for younger people
- Any time your immune system is weak, you are susceptible to a malignancy
- Doctors look at B and T cell counts to determine the strength of your immune system
WBAL-TV 11 is Maryland’s news leader. Their YouTube video, Use Your Immune System to Fight Disease, shares a medical alert that highlights the importance of a strong immune system to help your body fight off disease.
Three key facts we like from Use Your Immune System to Fight Disease:
- Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to boost your immune system
- Vitamin D supplements boost the immune system to help it protect the body from disease
- Probiotics reduce inflammation in the gut and strengthen your immune response
IMGENEX Corporation is a “leading manufacturer of antibodies and reagents for signaling pathways of TLRs, innate and adaptive immunology, inflammation, cancer, apoptosis, and stem cells.” They showcase three innate immune receptor families in this video that describes how the immune system protects the body from disease.
Three key facts we like from Innate Immunity: Viral Pathogen Immune Response:
- The three families of innate immune receptor families are toll-like receptors (TLRs), rig-I-like receptors (RILs), and nod-like receptors (NLRs)
- Pathogens penetrate the outer line of defense, such as skin, and enter the bloodstream through intercellular travel
- TLRs send signals to spark an immune response to attack pathogens and eliminate them
Mechanisms in Medicine takes a unique approach to health education by creating state-of-the-art medical animations and interactive elearning resources. One example of their medical animations is seen in Recognition of Fungi and Activation of Immune Response, a video available on YouTube that teaches viewers about the immune response our body takes to invading pathogens.
Three key facts we like from Recognition of Fungi and Activation of Immune Response:
- The immune system recognizes fungi via patter recognition receptors
- The immune response to fungi includes an activation of intracellular signaling cascades
- Macrophages and dendritic cells also produce and release cytokines and chemokines to protect the body against disease
New Health Guide provides information for people to lead healthier lives. Their multimedia resource on the immune system includes an overview of the organs and major components of the system and describes the functions of the system. It also invoices a video that explains the immune system in great detail.
Three key facts we like from Immune System – New Health Guide:
- The immune response is carried out by a variety of organs, tissues, and cells, especially white blood cells known as leukocytes
- The most important function of the immune system is to protect the body from disease-causing pathogens
- The immune system is capable of detecting the type of disease the pathogen carries, fighting it, and eliminating it from the body
MedlinePlus, part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, shares the latest news and information on health and medicine. They offer information about the immune response, including how the body recognizes and defends itself against disease, in this multimedia resource that includes videos about the immune response, phagocytosis, and vaccines.
Three key facts we like from Immune Response:
- Antigens in the form of proteins on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, and bacteria are recognized by the immune system so that it can respond to them
- Innate immunity includes your cough reflex, enzymes in tears and skin oils, mucus, skin, and stomach acid
- The immune system contains white blood cells, chemicals, and proteins like antibodies that directly attack foreign invaders in the body
S-cool is a revision website that offers educational resources in a variety of subjects. How Does the Body Fight Back? is a multimedia resource that explains the ways in which the immune system uses its defenses to protect the body from disease and features animations to demonstrate them.
Three key facts we like from How Does the Body Fight Back?:
- The body uses both passive and active defenses to protect the body
- Passive defenses, such as skin, the eye, and the respiratory system, act as roadblocks to pathogens
- The active system of cells, including white blood cells, directly deal with invaders to ward off infection and disease
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) represents research-based biopharmaceutical companies. They offer resources for schools, such as White Blood Cells, a multimedia resource.
Three key facts we like from White Blood Cells:
- White blood cells act as the second line of defense in the immune system
- The immune system responds to certain pathogens after it recognizes them as foreign invaders
- White blood cells distinguish pathogens from natural parts of the body by identifying antigens on the surface of the pathogens
Biology Innovation offers educational materials, such as The Immune System, to help people gain a better understanding of biological concepts and processes. This multimedia resource includes definitions, diagrams, and videos to aid in learning about immune response.
Three key facts we like from:
- Antigens incite the production of antibodies that aid in immune response
- The shape of antibodies allows them to join with specific antigens and neutralize, inhibit, or destroy them
- Immune system response uses lymphocytes produced by stem cells in bone marrow
The official site of the Nobel Prize, nobelprize.org, shares this slide show that describes how the immune system protects the body from infectious diseases. One important component of the immune system is the T cells that specifically identify infected cells.
Three key facts we like from Our Immune System Defends Us Against Infectious Diseases:
- T killer cells need to recognize two things on the surface of infected cells in order to kill them: virus antigen and an MHC molecule
- When T killer cells attach and sense the antigens on a target cell, they ingest the target cell and destroy it
- Vaccination helps the immune system respond earlier and more efficiently to antigens
10-for-IO is a new global resource for kidney cancer patients and organizations that are interested in immune-oncology (IO). Their interactive article, How Does the Immune System Work, provides a thorough overview of the immune system and immune response, complete with a Q&A format that enables readers to learn exactly what they want to know about how the immune system protects the body from disease.
Three key facts we like from How Does the Immune System Work:
- Lymphocytes are the most specialized cells of the immune system; they are rare in the blood but they are important at the site of infection or cancers, where they identify the target the immune system must specifically destroy
- Dendritic cells teach lymphocytes which cells are normal and which are invaders by aiding lymphocytes in the process of examining pieces of proteins from the surface of cells
- When lymphocytes recognize an infected cell, they trigger the immune response to destroy disease-causing invaders or cancer cells
Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone. They offer Big Picture, a resource that is “bringing cutting-edge science into the classroom and beyond.” Immune System is their interactive article that offers a detailed look into how this body system protects us from the organisms and substances that seek to do us harm.
Three key facts we like from Immune System – Big Picture:
- Diseases spread when the body’s defensive barriers are breached
- Antibody levels change during the immune response in an attempt to rid the body of disease-causing invaders
- Thanks to antigen recognition, the immune response includes an antibody attack on antigens
LiveScience shares science news on a variety of topics, including health and the immune system. This infographic capture the immune response of a healthy body and illustrates the ways in which the immune system identifies and attacks threats to protect us from disease.
Three key facts we like from Diagram of the Human Immune System:
- Properly functioning immune systems identify and attack threats while leaving healthy tissue alone
- Lymphocytes and leukocytes are key components in the fight to protect the body from disease; lymphocytes destroy bacteria and toxins or infected or cancerous cells, and leukocytes identify and eliminate pathogens
- The lymphatic system includes bone marrow, the spleen, the thymus, and lymph nodes and plays a crucial role in protecting the body from disease
Nationwide Children’s Hospital is America’s largest pediatric hospital and an international leader in research. Their Immune Function infographic illustrates the two sides of the immune system: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
Three key facts we like from Immune Function:
- Macrophages engulf the pathogens and kills them as part of the innate immune system
- The immune system recruits phagocytes, such as monocytes and neutrophils, to fight foreign pathogens that enter the body
- The adaptive immune system switches on when the body detects a specific antigen; otherwise, it stays inactive because the monocytes are not displaying pieces of a specific antigen on their cell surface
Billed as a “fun medical revision platform for medics, by medics,” Geeky Medics is a resource for medical students who want to learn more productively. Immunology: Immune Response features several infographics, diagrams, and other visual aids to demonstrate how the immune system protects the body from disease.
Three key facts we like from Immunology: Immune Response:
- While the immune system itself is a mobile, circulating system, some fixed anatomical structures, such as bone marrow, the thymus gland, lymph nodes, the spleen, and the liver, aid in its function
- The cells of the immune system include granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes
- Normal immune response includes four main components: pathogen recognition, acute inflammatory response, antigen presentation with activation of specific T helper cells, and a target antigen-specific immune response coordinated by CD4 helper T cells
From the Government of Western Australia, The Specific Immune Response – When the Body Declares War! is features an interactive diagram and infographic that thoroughly explain the seven steps of the body’s specific immune response to a non-self antigen, such as a virus.
Three key facts we like from The Specific Immune Response – When the Body Declares War!:
- B cells activate and produce an antibody-mediated response when a virus enters the body, multiplies, and invades the cells
- Antibodies combine with specific antigens and destroy them
- Suppressor t cells stop the immune response