Non-specific immunity

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Non-specific immune mechanisms (also innate, non-adaptive) are innate. This means that all the necessary information is invariably written in the DNA and already present in the zygote. Non-specific immunity responds to the same mechanisms after each encounter with an "antigen", it has no memory.

It consists mainly of components of complement and phagocytes. It is not aimed at eliminating a specific antigen but it is very prompt. The cells are constantly in the blood, so activation is almost instantaneous (minutes to hours) when needed.

Evolutionarily, it is older (in all multicellular organisms to varying degrees) than specific immunity. It consists of cellular and humoral components.

This group also includes the body's barrier functions, i.e. skin, mucous membranes, etc. (generally structures that prevent the penetration of foreign particles into the body).

Summary of components of the innate immunity[edit | edit source]

Cellular components[edit | edit source]

Humoral components[edit | edit source]

Cellular component[edit | edit source]

These mainly include granulocytes, macrophages and some lymphocytes. Platelets can also be included here, but they play a minor, but not unimportant, role.

Granulocytes and macrophages[edit | edit source]

The predominant part of the cellular component of non-specific immunity consists of cells derived from the myeloid lineage. These include cells that have a high phagocytic capacity, i.e. macrophages and neutrophilic granulocytes. Antigen-presenting cells, especially dendritic cells (cooperation with T-lymphocytes) and follicular cells (presents Ag to B-lymphocytes), cannot be neglected either. This group also includes eosinophils and basophils.

Lymphocytes[edit | edit source]

The next part is cells from the lymphoid lineage. This mainly includes cytotoxic NK cells (natural killers). Some immunologists include some B-lymphocytes in this group due to their independence from T-lymphocytes and the possibility of a partial change in their specificity during proliferation. These are B-lymphocytes that recognize carbohydrate antigens.

Humoral component[edit | edit source]

Acute-phase proteins[edit | edit source]

This is a group of proteins whose levels rise significantly and relatively quickly after the activation of the immune system. Complement components are also included here, they are separated here for clarity.

Searchtool right.svg For more information see Acute-phase proteins.

Complement[edit | edit source]

Complement is a set of serum proteins that, when activated, can induce the lysis of some cells.

Searchtool right.svg For more information see Complement.

Cytokines[edit | edit source]

Cytokines form a very diverse group of signal peptides, some of which also have a hormonal function. Their production changes significantly with the degree of cell activation. They mediate communication between cells of specific and non-specific immunity. We divide them into several subgroups:

  • interleukins,
  • chemokines,
  • interferons.
Searchtool right.svg For more information see Cytokines, Interleukins, Chemokines, Interferons.

Principles of non-specific mechanisms[edit | edit source]

Identification of pathogenic patterns[edit | edit source]

Pathogens are identified by the presence of PAMP (Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern) - phylogenetically highly conserved structures. Their carriers are only microorganisms and are essential for their survival. Is part of them:

These patterns are recognized by Pathogen Pattern Receptor (PPR) = Pattern Recognition Receptor (PRR) receptors. They are of the following types:

  • secreted - opsonins (e.g. MBL) complement activation,
  • endocytic - on phagocytes, they mediate phagocytosis (e.g. MMR (mannose macrophage receptor), MSR (macrophage scavenger receptor) - cleans up bacterial debris),
  • signalling - they activate a signalling pathway leading to the production of cytokines (e.g. TLR (Toll-like receptor)).

Identification of endogenous patterns[edit | edit source]

In connection with apoptosis, ACAMP (Apoptotic Cell Associated Molecular Pattern) patterns are exhibited - e.g. phospholipids of the inner layer of the cell membrane. ACR (Apoptotic Cell Receptor) receptors are recognized, and rather anti-inflammatory cytokines are produced.

Antigen presentation[edit | edit source]

Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs) absorb antigens, process them in lysosomes and present them on HLA class II molecules. In this way, the antigens (or antigenic epitopes) are presented together with the costimulatory signals to the T-lymphocytes.

Note If any cell, not just the antigen presenter, is infected with an intracellular parasite, the antigen is presented to HLA class I.

Links[edit | edit source]

Related Articles[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • HOŘEJŠÍ, Václav – BARTŮŇKOVÁ, Jiřina. Základy imunologie. 3. edition. Praha : Triton, 2008. 280 pp. ISBN 80-7254-686-4.

  • KREJSEK, Jan – KOPECKÝ, Otakar. Klinická imunologie. 1. edition. Hradec Králové : Nucleus HK, 2004. 941 pp. ISBN 80-86225-50-X.

  • ŠTERZL, Ivan, et al. Základy imunologie. 1. edition. Praha : Karolinum, 2005. ISBN 80-246-0972-X.