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Q: Homeostatic effects of disease ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Homeostatic effects of disease
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: erinashburn-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 02 Jun 2006 08:45 PDT
Expires: 02 Jul 2006 08:45 PDT
Question ID: 734746
i would like to know how the body responds to the chicken pox virus,
and how it effects homeostasis but i have no idea where to look. I see
lots of sites about the virus itself but nothing on how the body
fights the disease
Subject: Re: Homeostatic effects of disease
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 02 Jun 2006 11:40 PDT
Hello Erinashburn,

   The body reacts to varicella (chicken pox virus, also called
Varicella-zoster, or Herpes zoster), not by homeostasis per se, but by
an immunological response. The body produces antibodies to neutralize
or inactivate viruses.   Very simply put, when the body is exposed to
organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi), called antigens in the
immunological reaction, the body recognizes the antigen as foreign,
triggering the immunological response.

This answer will explain homeostasis:

   ?The purpose of the immune system is to keep infectious
microorganisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi, out of
the body, and to destroy any infectious microorganisms that do invade
the body. The immune system is made up of a complex and vital network
of cells and organs that protect the body from infection.

   Although each type of lymphocyte fights infection differently, the
goal of protecting the body from infection remains the same. The B
cells actually produce specific antibodies to specific infectious
microorganisms, while T cells kill infectious microorganisms by
killing the body cells that are affected. In addition, T cells release
chemicals, called lymphokines, which trigger an immune response to
combat cancer or a virus, for example.?

  This is one part of a several pages long series on the immune
response, and it?s well worth reading the entire series. ?The job of
your immune system is to protect your body from these infections. The
immune system protects you in three different ways:

1.It creates a barrier that prevents bacteria and viruses from entering your body. 

2.If a bacteria or virus does get into the body, the immune system
tries to detect and eliminate it before it can make itself at home and

3.If the virus or bacteria is able to reproduce and start causing
problems, your immune system is in charge of eliminating it.

   ?Antibodies (also referred to as immunoglobulins and
gammaglobulins) are produced by white blood cells. They are Y-shaped
proteins that each respond to a specific antigen (bacteria, virus or
toxin). Each antibody has a special section (at the tips of the two
branches of the Y) that is sensitive to a specific antigen and binds
to it in some way. When an antibody binds to a toxin it is called an
antitoxin (if the toxin comes from some form of venom, it is called an
antivenin). The binding generally disables the chemical action of the
toxin. When an antibody binds to the outer coat of a virus particle or
the cell wall of a bacterium it can stop their movement through cell
walls. Or a large number of antibodies can bind to an invader and
signal to the complement system that the invader needs to be removed.?

How the Immune System Works
How Stuff Works  has a great explanation of how the immune system works:

   ?The normal route of entry of chickenpox into a child's body is
through the mouth and nose-- usually inhaling particles that an
infected person has coughed. This means that the virus will come in
contact with the mucous membranes and trigger the beginnings of an
immune response. After this initial "alert" of the immune system, the
virus travels to the lymphatic system, where additional body defenses
are mustered. Finally, after the body has had adequate time to gear
up, the virus gains access to the blood stream and major organs. But
by this time, the immune system is mounting a full response (thanks to
its being alerted early by the mucous membranes and lymphatic system)
and will usually protect the major organs from damage from this

   ?After a chickenpox infection, the virus stays in the body (remains
dormant). It doesn?t do any harm because it?s kept under control by
the immune system; the part of the body that fights infection. At any
time later in life, but usually when you?re an adult, the virus can be
reactivated (come back), causing shingles.?

  ?Now lets talk about the humoral immune response.  This refers to a 
response by certain cells of the immune system (B cells) which have the 
ability to make what are called antibodies.  Antibodies are proteins
which float around in the blood and have a particular ability to bind
to a foreign protein.  Depending on the features of this foreign
protein, antibody binding to it will have numerous possible effects.

  One example would be antibodies which can recognize proteins on the
surface of invading bacteria.  If antibody coats the surface of the
bacteria, the cell will more easily recognize that the bacteria is
foreign, and try to destroy it.  Another example is antibody which can
recognize a certain toxin produced by bacteria and neutralize its
toxic action.  An example of this is antibody against tetanus toxin. 
If we get infected with the bacteria which causes tetanus, we can
usually handle the bacteria infection and rid the body of the
pathogen.  The problem is that the bacteria can quickly make a potent
toxin which can make us very sick.

  We need antibodies to bind the toxin and prevent it from acting. 
This is why we get vaccinated against tetanus.  The vaccine is
actually an inactive form of the toxin.  By putting this foreign
protein in the body, our B cell recognize it as foreign and produce
antibody against it.  This antibody floats around our bodies for
years, until the day we get infected by the tetanus bacteria.  As soon
as the bacteria makes the toxin, the antibodies bind it, and prevent
any terrible consequences.  This is an example of a humoral immune

   ?When bacteria or viruses get through our body?s outer defences
they may cause disease. To prevent this we have an immune system made
up of cells and molecules that are constantly on patrol looking for
and destroying foreign organisms.
For the system to be effective the cells and molecules that are
involved must be able to recognise foreign material and distinguish it
from similar chemicals that make up our tissues. This is a remarkable
feat of molecular recognition.
Any material that can trigger the immune system into action is called
an antigen. Antigens are usually the proteins, polysaccharides or
glycoproteins that are on the surface of invading bacteria or viruses.
Some of these invading pathogens produce harmful chemicals, called
toxins. Toxins may also be antigens.?

?Antibodies work by:
?binding to the antigen, making it inactive 

?binding to antigens in such a way that the molecules or invading
cells clump together to form insoluble immune complexes that are
easily digested by phagocyte cells circulating in the blood and lymph

?binding to the antigens on the surface of an invading cell to form a
complex that may attract phagocytes and killer cells or activate
enzymes in the blood capable of destroying the cell.

Here is a great simple slide show, illustrating how antibodies work:

   ?Humoral response is responsible for blocking the infectivity of
the virus (neutralization). Those of the IgM and IgG class are
especially relevant for defense against viral infections accompanied
by viraemia, whereas those of the IgA class are important in
infections acquired through a mucosa. (the nose, the intestine). In
contrast, the cellular response kills the virus-infected cells
expressing viral proteins on their surfaces, such as the glycoproteins
of enveloped viruses and sometimes core proteins of these viruses.
Antibodies (Abs) are elicited by the surface components of intact
virions as well by the internal components of disrupted virions. Also
they are elicited by viral products built into the surface of infected
cells or released by the cells. Antibodies provide the key to
protection against many viral infections. Sometimes, they are also
pathogenic e.g. immune complexes are thought to be responsible for
causing the rash in rubella. Interactions of virions with Abs to
different components of their coats have different consequences.?

   ?Humans and animals infected by a herpes virus develop immunity in
the form of circulating antibody and cell-mediated immunity, including
T helper, T cytotoxic, and memory T lymphocytes (1?7). This
constellation of specific immune factors serves to protect the
infected organism from disseminated viral disease and death (8?10).
Thus, the acquired immune response to herpes viruses such as herpes
simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is relatively effective in protecting the
organism from morbidity or even mortality due to this virus (10?13).?
?Regarding the establishment of cell-mediated immunity following
primary corneal infection by HSV-1, it has been amply demonstrated
that cell-mediated immunity in the form of CD4+ T helper lymphocytes
and CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which are antigen-specific for viral
HSV-1 antigens, are generated during a primary corneal infection in
patients and in experimental animals (5, 7, 28). Numerous studies in
the 1960s and 1970s demonstrated that patients who develop ocular
infection by HSV had circulating peripheral blood T lymphocytes
reactive with viral antigens in the lymphocyte transformation assay
(5, 7). Presumably, a fraction of these cells persist in patients and
in animals as a long-lived memory population that can provide a rapid
response to the threat of viral reinfection or viral reactivation. As
mentioned above, antigen-specific T lymphocytes that may be present in
the infected corneal epithelium in small numbers during primary
infection do not remain there once the infection has resolved?

For a very in-depth description of immune response to varicella:

This site has good descriptions, as well as several illustrations of
immune response.

Some brief descriptions and illustrations

Scroll down near the end of the page, where it says Activation of B
cells to make antibody, for a great illustration on antibody

Immune System Structures

Here are some previous answers on immunity:

   I hope this has enabled you to understand how the body fights
chickenpox, and most all viruses. If any part of my answer is unclear,
please request an Answer Clarification, and allow me to respond,
before rating. I?ll be happy to help you further on this question,
before you rate.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Herpes zoster + immune response
Humoral response + varicella
immune response + varicella
antigen-antibody response
immune response + varicella + antibody
immune response + varicella + antigen

Request for Answer Clarification by erinashburn-ga on 05 Jun 2006 14:06 PDT
the answer you gave me did not answer the question that i asked i know
about the immune system and all of that i would like to know how the
body reacts to it other than with immunity after the fact. The immune
response is basic. Homeostasis is not an immune response it is a
balance in the body i want to know what the chickenpox virus does to
disrupt that balance

Clarification of Answer by crabcakes-ga on 05 Jun 2006 15:26 PDT
Hi again Erinashburn,

   I appreciate your clarification request, and hope you will provide
me with another, after my own clarification.

   You're going to have to help me out here, as the immune response is
an integral part of homeostasis. I am baffled by what you mean. I am
unaware of any specific effect of chicken pox on homeostasis. The
immune system handles the virus, antibodies are formed, and life goes

  Are you referring perhaps to the fever and chills one often gets
with chicken pox, and it's effect on homeostasis? Temperature
regulation is a part of homeostasis. If not the immune system's
reaction to varicella, then exactly what are you seeking? Are you
tying to find out if the virus affects the endocrine system? Acid-base

  The only minute reference I could find using just chicken pox and
homeostasis were some junk science references on sites selling
detoxifying supplements.

  Your help via another clarification will be appreciated.

  Regards, Crabcakes

Request for Answer Clarification by erinashburn-ga on 06 Jun 2006 13:14 PDT
your problem is the exact same as mine i can't seem to find any
information on my own but i though thtta it was myfault because i
don't know how to do research very well online.

Homeostasis is not just the temperature regulation of the body it is
everything that happens in the body to keep it in the right state, for
example the pH of blood must be kept at around a 7 is the pH gets
higher there are reactions that happen within the body to to drop it
back down to the right pH the process that does this is another part
of homeostasis

an example of a disease that effects homeostasis is Crohn's 

the intestine (colon) works to absorb water and nutrients by the walls
of the intestine
when infected with crohn's disease the lining of the intestine becomes
inflammed, and ulcers are formed so the intestine can't absorb
nutrients as well as it could before  this means that there is a
homeostatic disturbance and the body has to do something to get the
water and nutrients absorbed hwo would that be done? that is my
question i have changed my disease from chicken pox to crohn's disease
for research reaesons but still can't find wht the body does in that
case can you help me to find that information?

i would also know how i can go about answering questions from google
answers just like you do is there anyway for me to do that????

Clarification of Answer by crabcakes-ga on 06 Jun 2006 14:22 PDT
Hello again,

  Thank you for your clarification. I'm unable to find any way that
Chicken pox affects homeostasis. I've been a health care professional
for over 25 years and am very aware of homeostasis and immunology. I
can find no way that chicken pox affect homeostasis other than a
fever. There is no long term efffect from the fever.

  You will have to post a new question for another disease-I am sorry.
I will give you a start however!


As far as being a Google Researcher, check this page, but it appears
at the current time, they are not accepting new researchers.I'm sorry.
"5. How do I sign up to become a Researcher?
      Because of an overwhelming response by qualified candidates, we
are temporarily not accepting additional applications. Please check
back with us again, as we likely will begin accepting applications
again in the near future"

Should Google Answers one day seek new researchers (and I'm telling
you this constructively, not critically), you will need to be sure and
use punctuation and capitalization in all correspondence.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Clarification of Answer by crabcakes-ga on 06 Jun 2006 14:24 PDT
In your original question, you did ask "I see lots of sites about the
virus itself but nothing on how the body fights the disease". The
immune system, which is part of human homeostasis, IS how the body
fights the disease, and what I covered in the original answer.

Regards, Crabcakes
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