Adaptive Immune System

The adaptive immune system, also known as the specific immune system, is composed of highly specialized, systemic cells and processes that eliminate or prevent pathogenic growth. Thought to have arisen in the first jawed vertebrates, the adaptive or "specific" immune system is activated by the “non-specific” and evolutionarily older innate immune system (which is the major system of host defense against pathogens in nearly all other living things). The adaptive immune response provides the vertebrate immune system with the ability to recognize and remember specific pathogens (to generate immunity), and to mount stronger attacks each time the pathogen is encountered. It is adaptive immunity because the body's immune system prepares itself for future challenges.

The system is highly adaptable because of somatic hypermutation (a process of accelerated somatic mutations), and V(D)J recombination (an irreversible genetic recombination of antigen receptor gene segments). This mechanism allows a small number of genes to generate a vast number of different antigen receptors, which are then uniquely expressed on each individual lymphocyte. Because the gene rearrangement leads to an irreversible change in the DNA of each cell, all of the progeny (offspring) of that cell will then inherit genes encoding the same receptor specificity, including the Memory B cells and Memory T cells that are the keys to long-lived specific immunity. Immune network theory is a theory of how the adaptive immune system works, that is based on interactions between the variable regions of the receptors of T cells, B cells and of molecules made by T cells and B cells that have variable regions.

Read more about Adaptive Immune System:  Functions, Effector Cells, Antigen Presentation, B Lymphocytes and Antibody Production, Alternative Adaptive Immune System, Immunological Memory, Immunological Diversity, Adaptive Immunity During Pregnancy

Famous quotes containing the words immune system, adaptive, immune and/or system:

    The moral immune system of this country has been weakened and attacked, and the AIDS virus is the perfect metaphor for it. The malignant neglect of the last twelve years has led to breakdown of our country’s immune system, environmentally, culturally, politically, spiritually and physically.
    Barbra Streisand (b. 1942)

    The shift from the perception of the child as innocent to the perception of the child as competent has greatly increased the demands on contemporary children for maturity, for participating in competitive sports, for early academic achievement, and for protecting themselves against adults who might do them harm. While children might be able to cope with any one of those demands taken singly, taken together they often exceed children’s adaptive capacity.
    David Elkind (20th century)

    The moral immune system of this country has been weakened and attacked, and the AIDS virus is the perfect metaphor for it. The malignant neglect of the last twelve years has led to breakdown of our country’s immune system, environmentally, culturally, politically, spiritually and physically.
    Barbra Streisand (b. 1942)

    Few white citizens are acquainted with blacks other than those projected by the media and the so—called educational system, which is nothing more than a system of rewards and punishments based upon one’s ability to pledge loyalty oaths to Anglo culture. The media and the “educational system” are the prime sources of racism in the United States.
    Ishmael Reed (b. 1938)