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The Team: Sub-Units, Early, and Late Responders

monday medicine Feb 14, 2022

               You were born with an immune system.  We call it a system because of its myriad interdependent and multi-layered defenses.  It is much greater than a single night watchman walking the store every hour waiting for break-in.  Instead, we have numerous cell types spread across every body tissue and organ utilizing an ever-growing list of identified messengers in an effort more coordinated than a major multi-Corp collaborative military offensive.    You are both the general in charge and the object of the protective efforts. If you want to lead it well for your own benefit, you should know a little about your team.

               To understand what happens when the system goes offline, just consider those with congenital diseases like the so-called ‘bubble boy,’ who was born without a functional immune system.  Without artificial protection from a sterile bubble created for him he could have succumbed to the simplest of infections.  Or consider the HIV virus behind AIDS, During an HIV infection, the virus disables a single type of immune cell and all heck breaks loose Once this occurs and advances, other invaders come out of hiding and take us down.

As your immune system's captain, you need to know enough to lead the defense effort

However, you don't need to know everything about your soldiers to be effective

You need to know how to keep them in shape but not necessarily what color their shoestrings are

Let me briefly introduce you to your immune team.  As an infection begins, the Innate system acts as your first responders.  The Adaptive system responds next in the counterattack against the invading infection.  Each subsystem includes its own special cells to carry out vital functions.  Each subsystem includes its own "weapons" to counter invaders.  Both share a communication system of chemical messengers called chemokines and cytokines.

Focusing on the innate system, we see an initial response by cells on site where the microbial invasion begins.  Several different cell types act as antigen presenting cells.  They pick up or eat the invaders (or pieces of them) and after processing, show the pieces to other cells, basically saying, “these pieces are from the enemy, round up the troops and start fighting”.    Along with showing off the enemy pieces, they send out many different chemical messengers to alert distant cells.   They recruit more immune cells like neutrophils and macrophages which eat the invading microbes.  These cells see enemy and start munching on them. 

The adaptive system comes into the battle after being alerted by the innate system.  Whereas the innate system sees the world in terms of bad guys and good guys, the adaptive system works more discriminately, differentiating one type of bad guy from another.  This system focuses on the antibody production of immune B cells to laser target specific types of invading microbes.  The antibodies are tiny proteins with special surface patterns allowing them to attach to certain invading microbes.  Each antibody type also attaches to a specific pattern on a microbe but not others.  The antibody attachment triggers other defense mechanisms by our system, improving the immune system’s ability to fight off the infection.  Various types of T cells further augment the antibody production and coordinate multiple other aspects of the immune defense.

Though we’ve only scratched the surface of the immune team, you can at least start forming a mental picture of the battle going on inside our bodies when infection attack.  Knowing that we have a multilayered, profoundly complex, and powerful immune team should be reassuring.  Wondering what you can do to improve your immune system’s mission success rate will keep you coming back here to learn more and sooner or later making the commitment to the Immune Prepper 101 course so you can be ready for the 2020’s and beyond. 


What is your Immune System telling you?

What have we learned in the past couple of years, especially since the outbreak of a global pandemic?

Your Immune System CAN'T be ignored!

NOW is the time to prep your immune system...because we face a myriad of viruses, bacteria, mold, and toxins EVERY DAY!  Only a strong immune system will truly combat these potential threats. 

Take the Immunity Quiz today to see how YOUR immune system ranks and how prepared you truly are!

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