What is the adaptive immune response?

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What is the adaptive immune response?

The adaptive immune response happens because the immune system has had enough time to recognise the germ causing the infection and can target it's action specifically to that germ. A targeted action is more effective than the general innate response above. There are two types of adaptive immunity:
  • Cellular immunity - white blood cells are made to specifically target the invading germ.
  • Humoral immunity - the immune system recognises special substances on the surface of invading germs called antigens. It then produces its own chemicals called antibodies, to specifically target the antigens and inactivate them. The germs are then marked by the antibodies for destruction by white blood cells.

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Date of Posting: 10/01/2003
Date of next Review: 15/01/2005

Related Questions:
How does my body protect itself against infection?
What happens if the microbes get through the first defences (the innate response)?
Why do I only get some illnesses once?
Why do I get some illnesses lots of times?
Why may I need to take antimicrobials?

MeSH keywords:
Immune System; Immunity; Immunity, Natural; Immunity, Active; Immunity, Cellular

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