Allergic Diseases

Question: What are the major components of the adaptive immune system? How do they work?

Answer:

The adaptive immune system includes elements such as the B lymphocytes that make antibodies and T lymphocytes that provide the effector elements of antigen-specific cell-mediated immune responses. Elements of the adaptive immune system display a large repertoire (e.g., tens of millions) of specific antigen receptors that are generated by DNA rearrangements. Each lymphocyte and its clonal descendants express one of the millions of possible antigen receptors. Since numerically there are very few cells at any one time that can recognize newly introduced antigens, B cells and T cells must be appropriately stimulated and induced to divide and produce multiple copies of themselves.

Reference:  Klein J: Immunology, 2nd ed. Oxford, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1997.

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