autoimmune research

A Delicate Balancing Act

With the growing incidence of autoimmunity in young adults and the formation of new patient communities, we are taking a moment to give you a crash course on the biology behind the immune system.

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Here is a handpicked glossary that will enhance your personal research surrounding autoimmunity.

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Innate vs Adaptive Immunity

Innate immunity is your body’s nonspecific defensive system. This includes physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and inflammatory cells. These mechanisms repel all microorganisms equally.

More complex than innate immunity, adaptive immunity is an acquired defense mechanism that uses immunological memory (as seen with vaccines) to respond rapidly and intensely to infections. There are two types of adaptive immune responses, humoral and cellular immunity.

Humoral vs. Cellular Immunity

Mediated by a type of white blood cell known as B-cells and their antibodies, humoral immunity targets the antigens or pathogens found in the lymph and blood.

Meanwhile, cellular immunity employs T-cell lymphocytes. This immune response does not involve antibodies, but uses an antigen-specific response by cellular recruitment of CD4 cells, helper T-cells, and T-cell cytotoxicity.

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So when does an autoimmune disease occur?

Autoimmune disease begins when autoantibodies form. The body’s natural backup system fails, and autoantibodies build-up in the body. Because of these antibodies, the immune system is stimulated to attack itself. Disease symptoms become noticeable when enough damage occurs to surrounding tissue cells.

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In these next few blog posts, we will explain the different factors that cause the immune system to lose its balance.

Join us as we dive into the causes of autoimmunity!

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