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Management of Clients with

Immunology Problems

Kusman Ibrahim, PhD

Faculty of Nursing, Padjadjaran University

Immune System
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs
that work together to defend the body against attacks by foreign
Immunology is the study of our protection from foreign
macromolecules or invading organisms and our responses to
Foreign macromolecule, antigen e.g. virus protein, worm,
parasite (Everything that should not be in the body)
A healthy immune system is its remarkable ability to distinguish
between the bodys own cellsselfand foreign cellsnonself. The
bodys immune defenses normally coexist peacefully with cells that
carry distinctive self marker molecules. But when immune defenders
encounter cells or organisms carrying markers that say foreign, they
quickly launch an attack.


Structure of Immune System

Division of Immune System

Immune system

Innate (non-specific) immunity Adaptive (specific) immunity

Anatomic barriers (Skin,mucous Antigen specificity
Physological barriers
(temperature, pH) Immunological memory

Phagocytic Barriers (cells that eat Self/nonself recognition

Inflammatory barriers (redness,
swelling, heat and pain)


Humoral and cellular immunity

(antibody mediated or cellular)

B cells
Surface bound antibody
Antibody secreting B cell



Soluble antibodies, circculate in the body


Antibody secreting B cell


Virus killed

T cells
Two types:
Helper T cells (Th): activates other cells
Cytotoxic T cells (Tc): can kill other cells
T cells can only recognize antigens
associated with certain molecules (MHC)


Cells of the Immune system

Many cells of the
immune system
derived from the
bone marrow
stem cell


Antibodies constitute a group of globular serum proteins
called immunoglobins (Igs).
A typical antibody molecule has two identical antigen-binding
An antibody interacts with a small, accessible portion of the
antigen called a epitope or antigenic determinant.
A single antigen
such as a bacterial
surface protein
usually has several
effective epitopes,
each capable of
inducing the pro-
duction of specific

At the two tips of the Y-shaped antibody molecule are the

variable regions (V) of the heavy chains and light chains.
The amino acid sequences in these regions vary extensively from
antibody to antibody.
A heavy-chain V region and a light-chain V region together form
the unique contours of an antibodys antigen-binding site.
Multiple noncovalent bonds form between the antigen-binding
site and its epitope.


The tail of the Y-shaped

antibody, formed by the
constant regions (C) of the
heavy chains, is
responsible for the
antibodys distribution in
the body.
There are five major types of
heavy-chain constant
regions, determining the five
major classes of antibodies.

The binding of antibodies to antigens to form

antigen-antibody complexes is the basis of
several antigen disposal mechanisms.


How Antibodies Work

In neutralization, the antibody binds to and blocks the activity
of the antigen.
Antibody-mediated agglutination of bacteria or viruses
effectively neutralizes the microbes.
Agglutination is possible because each antibody molecule
has at least two antigen-binding sites.
IgM can link together five or more viruses or bacteria.
These large complexes are readily phagocytosed by
In precipitation, the cross-linking of soluble antigen molecules
- molecules dissolved in body fluids - forms immobile
precipitates that are disposed of by phagocytosis.

Active Immunity
Immunity conferred by recovering from an infectious
disease such as chicken pox is called active immunity
because it depends on the response of the infected
persons own immune system.
Active immunity can be acquired naturally or artificially, by
immunization, also known as vaccination.
Vaccines include inactivated toxins, killed microbes, parts
of microbes, and viable but weakened microbes.
These no longer cause disease, but they can act as
antigens, stimulating an immune response, and more
important, immunological memory.


Passive Immunity
Antibodies can be transferred from one individual to
another, providing passive immunity.
This occurs naturally when IgG antibodies of a pregnant
woman cross the placenta to her fetus.
In addition, IgA antibodies are passed from mother to
nursing infant in breast milk, especially in early secretions
called colostrum.
Passive immunity persists as long as these antibodies last,
a few weeks to a few months.
This protects the infant from infections until the babys own
immune system has matured.

Other Ways to Acquire Passive Immunity

Passive immunity can be transferred artificially by
injecting antibodies from an animal that is already
immune to a disease into another animal.
This confers short-term, but immediate protection against
that disease.
For example, a person bitten by a rabid animal may be
injected with antibodies against rabies virus because rabies
may progress rapidly, and the response to an active
immunization could take too long to save the life of the
Actually, most people infected with rabies virus are given both
passive immunizations (the immediate fight) and active
immunizations (longer term defense).


Altered Immune System

Malfunctions of the immune system can
produce effects ranging from the minor
inconvenience of some allergies to the serious
and often fatal consequences of certain
autoimmune and immunodeficiency diseases.
Allergies are hypersensitive (exaggerated)
responses to certain environmental antigens,
called allergens.

Autoimmune Diseases
Sometimes the immune system loses tolerance for self
and turns against certain molecules of the body,
causing one of many autoimmune diseases.
In systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), the
immune system generates antibodies against all
sorts of self molecules, including histamines.
Lupus is characterized by skin rashes, fever, arthritis, and
kidney dysfunction.
Rheumatoid arthritis leads to damage and painful
inflammation of the cartilage and bone of joints.


More Diseases
In insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, the insulin-
producing beta cells of the pancreas are the
targets of autoimmune cell-mediated responses.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common
chronic neurological disease in developed
In MS, T cells reactive against myelin infiltrate the
central nervous system and destroy the myelin of
People with MS experience a number of serious
neurological abnormalities.

Laboratory test in Immunology

Immunology is also called serology in the lab.


Four categories of inappropriate responses of the

immune system:

Hyperactive responses against environmental antigens

such as allergic reaction.
Inability to protect the body as in immunodeficiency
disorders such as in AIDS.
Failure to recognize the body as self, as in
autoimmune disorders such as in systemic lupus
erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis.
Attacks on beneficial foreign tissue as in organ
transplant or transfusion reaction.