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Update your knowledge: Terms associated with immunology

We present some words you might have come across when reading an immunology-related topics, but didn’t know or didn’t have the time to check up. Just update your knowledge with these simple terms:

Antibodies – Special proteins produced by the body’s immune system that help fight and destroy viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances that invade the body .

Antigen – A substance (usually foreign) that stimulates the immune response.  In people with autoimmune disease, the body’s own cells may be seen as antigens.

Autoantibodies – Abnormal antibodies that attack parts of the body, causing autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune disease – A disease that occurs when the immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect.

Fever – A rise in body temperature caused by the immune system’s response to infection or disease.

Immune response – The reaction of the immune system against foreign substances.  When the reaction occurs against the body’s own cells or tissues, it is called an autoimmune reaction.

Immune system – A complex system that normally protects the body from infections.  The immune system consists of a group of cells, the chemicals that control those cells, and the chemicals that those cells release.

Immunosuppressive drugs – Drugs that suppress the immune response and can be used to treat autoimmune disease.  Unfortunately, because normal immunity is also suppressed with these drugs, they leave the body at risk for infection.

Infection – Invasion of the body tissues by bacteria or other tiny organisms that cause illness.

Inflammation – A reaction of tissues to injury or disease, typically marked by four signs:  swelling, redness, heat, and pain.

Trigger – Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predisposed to developing the disease, or that causes a certain symptom to occur in a person who has a disease.  For example, sunlight can trigger rashes in people with lupus.

Updated: January 16, 2019 — 10:27 am

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