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Q: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it? ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: audy5000g-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Jan 2005 11:51 PST
Expires: 17 Feb 2005 11:51 PST
Question ID: 459381
I want to look at the normal reaction to infectious diseases in a
normal healthy person.   I think I know a bit on how the body works,
but I want to be sure.  I am not an expert and need some help in this
area. I love to know how we click.

Here is what I know, or think I know as correct.  If you could help
fill in the blanks or correct me I would appreciate the help.  Again
in a normal healthy person:  When a person gets exposed to an
infectious disease, the point of entry is through the mucus membranes
(the nose and mouth). At the initial exposure, your immune system
kicks in right away. This is a complex system involving the nervous
system, the digestive and lymphatic system, the de-toxing organs of
the body such as the liver and kidneys as well as the endocrine
system. There are many different fighting cells such as T-cells,
killer cells, lymphocytes, antibodies and many others that are
specialized in taking care of the bad guys. When the invader reaches
our gut, your body has a high quality weapons system in place and
ready for combat. Often, this is when you feel yucky with headaches,
nausea, fatigue and achy all over. The fever and sweats are all part
of this process. The body is designed to identify, contain and
eliminate. In many diseases, the final stage is the skin rash, where
the body eliminates it. During this process, the immune system learns
about this invader for future reference. This is the normal method of
immune development and function.

Please help me understand the way our body works with infectious
diseases naturally?!?
Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 18 Jan 2005 13:48 PST
Hello audy5000g,

  Immunity is a topic on which  many have written dissertations and
books. Equally so, it could take pages and pages, to explain the
intricacies of antibodies, immunity, endotoxins, exotoxins, etc. I
would love to do so, but??I leave it to some simple explanations and
plenty of illustrative links. (I, myself, learn so much better with

  You are on the right track here, audy5000g, but you can?t lump all
infectious diseases together. If I understand you correctly, you say
that an organism enters through the nose/mouth, then the ?invaders
reaches our gut? , and then ?final stage is the skin rash, where the
body eliminates it?. This is not quite how it works.

  I?ll describe several scenarios, simply, then below, add links to
sites that will illustrate and explain, in greater detail.

Cellular Immunity:
  In cellular immunity, infectious agents are destroyed by
macrophages, specialized white blood cells (WBC), called T-cells. The
cells ?eat? the organisms, digesting them by lysing (bursting, so to
speak, the organisms cellular membrane)

 Humoral Immunity:
  In this form of immunity, the B cells, a specialized form of WBC,
upon recognizing an antigen, the organism, produces antibodies that
inactivate or kill the organisms.

?Cells which make up the immune system can be found in a typical blood
sample; in addition to red blood cells and platelets, it is the white
blood cells which comprise the immune response (a normal white blood
cell `differential' count is around 5-9000 per cubic millimeter of
blood). Typically, there are the granulocytes which normally make up
60-70% of the white cell total (neutrophils, eosinophils, and
basophils), lymphocytes making up 20-25% (B and T cells), and
monocytes making up the last 3-8% of the total white cell count. These
cells have various duties within the immune response team; however for
the sake of simplicity we can look at our immune cells (white cells)
as having 3 principal functions as `carriers', `secretors', and as
`eaters'. Carrier cells like neutrophils and monocytes have the
responsibility of recognizing an antigen, binding it, and `carrying'
it to other cells within the immune complex. Secretor cells like B-
and T lymphocytes have the job of making and secreting specific
antibodies, as well as a number of cytokines needed to activate and
sustain the immune response. And the eater cells like the monocytes
and T-lymphocytes have the responsibility of detoxifying the antigen
directly as well as mopping up the antigen-antibody complexes made

Illustration of a macrophage and bacteria

Another macrophage, full of bacteria

Illustration of how T-cells and B-cells fight organisms

Activation of a macrophage

T-cell maturation

B-cell maturation

This page illustrates how a second exposure generates a larger
response, thanks to memory WBC that produce larger amounts of

This page illustrates an antibody structure, and where the binding
sites for antigen are.

  Bacteria, viruses, and fungi that enter our nose and respiratory
system are often eliminated by macrophages, plasma cells, and
antibodies, often without or knowing we?ve been infected. If we are in
good health, and the amount/kind of organisms are small/weak, the
?invaders? are killed off before causing any symptoms. If we are run
down, tired, stressed, or already sick, we are not as able to fight
off any new bugs that come around, taking advantage of our weakened
state. Once the organisms are killed off, they are digested by
macrophages. They don?t actually travel to the intestinal tract.

  Organisms that enter the stomach, cause a problem, only if they are
vary large in number. I was once told by a microbiologist that one
needed to consume 10,000,000 bacteria to get food poisoning. Numbers
of bacteria lower than that are destroyed by stomach acid. The dead
bacteria are eliminated from the body, along with digested food. What
is often called ?stomach flu?, common gastritis, is triggered by an
inflammatory response to organisms and bacterial toxins.

  Skin rashes you get from systemic infections are caused by the
toxins that many bacteria and viruses produce, or an inflammatory
allergic response to bacterial/viral components. Toxins are cell and
tissue destroying machines, making the notorious organisms anthrax,
the ?flesh eating Step?,  and botulism so deadly. The achy feeling of
the flu is caused by chemicals released in the body that raise body
temperature, bringing on a fever, that makes it difficult for most
organisms to survive. In other words, the achy feeling telles you your
body is in defense mode, and a fever is actually a good thing! (To a
degree, pun intended!)

?Many bacterial exotoxins have the capacity to damage the
extracellular matrix or the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells. The
damage not only may result in the direct lysis of cells but also can
facilitate bacterial spread through tissues. Toxins that mediate this
cellular damage do so by either enzymatic hydrolysis or pore
formation. Bacterial hyaluronidases, collagenases, and phospholipases
have the capacity to degrade cellular membranes or matrices.?

?Rather than a localized wound like the cut skin, what occurs when you
are fighting an infection such as the common cold? What elements of
the inflammatory response are at work? Most of them as in the case of
the skin wound. While there is no need for clotting factors, other
cytokines are indeed at work. For example, histamines are at work
stimulating mucous to be secreted by our air passageways to trap
microbial particles; histamines are also at work causing tearing of
our eyes as an added protection. In addition to the bradykinins which
gives us that `achy' feeling, pyrogens are released which target our
hypothalamus in the brain and `resets' our thermostat allowing our
body temperature to rise (yes, that's how we get that feverish
feeling!). Moreover, other cytokines like the interleukins are busy
activating cells comprising the third level of our body defenses the
immune system.?

?Bacteria have the ability to severly affect their host by the
secretion of toxins. These factors can act on distant sites in the
body and can excert their malicious effect even after killing of the
bacteria. However, some toxins are injected directly into the target
by bacteria attached to the cell surface. These toxins often produce
immediate and severe alterations in eukaryotic cells by interfering
with cellular signal transduction mechanisms.?

?Bacterial toxins control enteral and extraenteral cellular processes.
For example, the heat-labile and heat-stable enterotoxins of
Escherichia coli activate enteral adenylate cyclase and guanylate
cyclase. Verotoxin, which enterohemorrhagic E coli and Shigella
species produce, causes systemic disorders such as seizures and
hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Other noninvasive bacteria adhere to
the gut wall, causing inflammation. Organisms such as E coli and
Clostridium species are normal enteric flora, pathogenic strains of
which can cause gastroenteritis.?

?Dendritic cells are the key antigen-presenting cells in the lung.?

?Tissue pathology is largely related to the release of toxic
eosinophil products. These products include major basic protein,
eosinophil cationic protein, and eosinophil-derived neurotoxin, which
damage the respiratory epithelium, induce ciliastasis, and influence
mucus production. Tissue injury may also be caused by the release of
reactive oxygen species. The release of platelet-activating factor and
leukotrienes contributes to bronchospasm. In some syndromes, such as
tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (TPE) and CEP, interstitial fibrosis
may result from chronic inflammation. Commonly, lung parenchyma is
affected, but in certain extrinsic and intrinsic syndromes, other
organs may be affected.?

Bacterial Toxins

Simply written article on immunity

Memory Cells
?Memory Cells by contrast are much smaller than Plasma Cells and don't
immediately secrete anything. Instead, they persist in the body for
many years and may never be activated.
However, in the event that the same foreign Organism returns, they
will develop into Plasma Cells much more rapidly than the original
B-Cells and proceed to secrete their ImmunoGlobulins.?
More on immunity

If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an Answer
Clarification, before rating. This will allow me to assist you
further, if possible.


Search Terms
Antigen response
Cellular immunity
Humoral immunity
Phagocytosed bacteria
bacterial toxins
pulmonary response to antigens
achy feeling + flu + antigen response

Request for Answer Clarification by audy5000g-ga on 19 Jan 2005 12:39 PST
First, Wow!!!  That is mind blowing for a simple mind.  And mine is
simple to say the least.  I will however enjoy studying all the site

Second, could you put this in more lay-terms for me.  Like if you were
talking to a Junior High School class or something similar.  I want
something quick like I had written earlier, but something that is also
right on.  My fear is that I would lead a friend astray by telling
them this, if it is not completely true.

Third, I understand that all diseases work differently, from what you
said.  But I guess I am looking for most cases rather than separate
cases.  Does that make any sense?  I hope so, told you, simple mind.

Basically, I know God designed us to handle diseases, and it captures
me with passion, to know how the body does it.  It amazes me.  Thanks
so much for your help already.

Clarification of Answer by crabcakes-ga on 19 Jan 2005 16:26 PST
Hello again audy5000g,

I'm sorry I got carried away on the topic of immunity?I DO love the
topic! It is doubtful you have a simple mind though, as evidenced by
your question! Immunology is very hard to grasp, especially with so
many cells that sometimes are called different things. The human body,
and all living creatures for that matter, fascinates me too! I love to
see how all the systems; cardiac, immune, hormone, urinary,
respiratory, cerebral-spinal, etc. interact.
I have found some simply explained articles for you.

City University of London publishes this well written and illustrated
basic immunology guide: has a good simple explanation:

How Stuff Works has a basic explanation of the immune system here:

Another simple description can be found here:

?The first challenge for the immune system is to know that the skin's
first line of defense has been penetrated. So how does the immune
system know that an invasion has occurred and that invaders have
penetrated the skin? The answer is that certain cells of the immune
system recognize that the proteins of the bacteria are foreign.

Cells of your body have proteins on their surface that the immune
system recognizes and leaves alone.   But proteins that are not
recognized stimulate the immune system to make antibodies, which are
proteins that attach to the foreign proteins and make them inactive.
Many antibodies circulate in the blood, while others are anchored in
cells. The free-circulating antibodies can be transferred from one
individual to another by blood transfusions or from mother to newborn
via the milk for the first day or two after birth. The antibodies
attached to cells can only be transferred by transferring the entire
cell, which is makes them less transferable since the recipient's own
immune system would attack the "foreign" cells.?

?How does the body fight invaders? 
The immune system has two approaches to attacking invaders: 
1. Ingestion by certain migrating cells, such as macrophages and a
type of white cell known as neutrophils.
These cells are like an amoeba.  They move around the body and
actually "eat" germs. Once inside the white cell, enzymes break down
and destroy the invader. Cancer cells, which the immune system
recognizes as foreign, are also combated in this way.
2. Binding and inactivation by protective molecules, called antibodies.
These either circulate in blood and lymph vessels or are attached to
membranes of cell surfaces, as described previously. When they bind to
foreign molecules, they make it easier for the invaders to be broken
down. In the case of viruses, the binding can also stop the division
of the virus.?
Follow the ?Next? arrows to follow the sequence. 

Here?s an illustration of a white cell ?destroying? a bacteria

The second illustration on this page is an animation of antibody
destroying bacteria:

?An infection from a few bacteria isn't a problem. The bacteria
produce chemicals that eat human cells, but the body can usually fight
them off slowly and wipe out the infections, Timmins said.
"White blood cells basically make a whole oxidative soup to kill
bacteria," Timmins said. "But what wasn't obvious was that they were
also doing something else."
When bacteria reach a critical mass - millions or tens of millions in
population - something changes. They switch from producing the
cell-eating chemicals and start producing a large amount of toxic
chemicals that can kill a person, Timmins said.
"It's kind of like grasshoppers," Timmins said. "You get a few
grasshoppers and they don't do much. They're harmless. But at some
point you get a critical density of grasshoppers and you get a swarm
of locusts that causes immense damage - ruining crops and killing
everything in sight."
It turns out the "something else" that the white blood cells are doing
is releasing chemicals that disrupt the signals between bacteria. They
make a chemical that jams into receptors on the bacteria so they can't
tell each other when that critical mass has been reached, Timmins
"So the body needs to make enough of these oxidants so that the bugs
can never turn on those toxins," Timmins said. "The problem is,
sometimes it can't keep pace. Knowing how this works, though, we can
find new ways to jam their radar, slow the infection down and give the
body a chance to kill off the bugs naturally."

White Blood Cells Fight Infection

Understanding the Immune System

Here is a simple drawing explaining memory cells and antibody. It is
geared to vaccines, but it is the same thing.

Here is an illustration of an allergic reaction, which works closely
like a bacterial infection reaction:

Fighting Infection

The lymphatic system

Hope this has clarified things for you! Immunology is a very broad and
complex topic, full of puzzles, many of which are yet unsolved. Why
don't you consider taking an anatomy and/or microbiology class at your
local college? You'll be amazed!

Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
From: pugwashjw-ga on 18 Jan 2005 20:37 PST
For audy5000g..." the body is designed.... a wonderful choice of
words...and so true. My Bible says at Hebrews 3;4..Of course, every
house is constructed by someone, but He that constructed all things is
I now await the wrath of the evolutionists who would have us believe
that if you throw all the parts of a meat grinder in the air an
unspecified number of times, they will eventually come together in the
right order before they hit the ground. Just a comment on how people
give praise to God without actually trying.
Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
From: pugwashjw-ga on 18 Jan 2005 20:49 PST
and Crabcakes did a very good research job. The normal WBC of 5 to
9ooo is accurate. Mine went to 95,000 before treatment for C.L.L. so I
do know what its all about. But God STILL made us. Our physical
problems can be traced right back to Genesis 3; pain you will
eat its produce all the days of your life..
Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
From: audy5000g-ga on 19 Jan 2005 12:28 PST
pugwashjw-ga, Thanks.  It was no mistake how I wrote my question.  I
am a creationist.  It is the only thing out their that makes any
sense.  Both evolutionism and creationism depend on faith, yet their
is more scientific proof for the latter of the two than the former. 
Check out  He is a great debater on the
subject.  My husband is taking his college cource and is going to the
creation boot camp he is offering in May.  Check it out.  It will be
Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
From: audy5000g-ga on 19 Jan 2005 12:29 PST
pugwashjw-ga, Thanks.  It was no mistake how I wrote my question.  I
am a creationist.  It is the only thing out their that makes any
sense.  Both evolutionism and creationism depend on faith, yet their
is more scientific proof for the latter of the two than the former. 
Check out  He is a great debater on the
subject.  My husband is taking his college course and is going to the
creation boot camp he is offering in May.  Check it out.  It will be
Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
From: racecar-ga on 19 Jan 2005 14:20 PST
I know I am wasting my time telling you this, but Dr. Dino is a quack.
 And it is not true that there is more scientific evidence for
creation than evolution.  If that were really the case, surely people
would be writing about creation in reputable, refereed scientific
journals.  And they're not.  You are not a scientist.  What makes you
think you know better than scientists what there is scientific
evidence for?  In fact there is very strong evidence for evolution,
from fossil records and also on much shorter timescales: we have
actually observed species evolving in response to environmental
changes brought about by humans.  There is no direct scientific
evidence for creation.  There never will be.  It is something you
believe as part of a religion, and therefore you believe it on the
basis of faith, not science.  Scientists cannot use science to
determine which is the best religion, and students of religion cannot
use religion to determine which is the best scientific theory. 
Carefully choosing certain scientific facts to try to support a
religious idea is not science: in order to do science successfully you
have to approach the data from an unbiased standpoint, not try to
twist the data until it supports the answer you like.
Subject: Re: Infectious Desases:The normal method of immune function, how our body fights it?
From: audy5000g-ga on 20 Jan 2005 06:46 PST
racecar-ga: You are wasting your time. Have a good day.

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