A growing number of other conditions infections, cardiovascular diseases, organ transplantation are also areas for immune manipulation. The immune system has evolved to protect the host from invading pathogens and to eliminate disease. When functioning at its best, the immune system is exquisitely responsive to invading pathogens while retaining the capacity to recognize self tissues and antigens to which it is tolerant.
Protection from infection and disease is provided by the collaborative efforts of the innate and adaptive immune systems. The innate immune system is the first line of defense against invading pathogens eg, bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and consists of mechanical, biochemical, and cellular components.
Unlike adaptive immunity, the innate immune response exists prior to infection, is not enhanced by repeated infection, and is generally not antigen-specific. An intact skin or mucosa is the first barrier to infection. The process of pathogen destruction can be accomplished, for example, by biochemical components such as lysozyme which breaks down bacterial peptidoglycan cell walls and complement activation.
Complement components Figure 55—1 enhance macrophage and neutrophil phagocytosis by acting as opsonins C3b and chemoattractants C3a, C5a , which recruit immune cells from the bloodstream to the site of infection.
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