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Questions tagged [immunology]

The study of the immune system in organisms, primarily responsible for fighting infection.

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Why can blood group O be given to all blood groups?

The blood of persons of blood group O contains antibodies against antigens A and B. The red blood cells of persons of blood group A have A antigen on their surface. If someone with blood group A ...
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Why don't we develop immunity against common cold?

We all suffer from common cold, and that, frequently. Why have we not developed immunity against it till now? By immunity I mean immunity as a species.
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If fever is a natural immune defense, why do people take drugs to lower it?

If fever is a natural defense against pathogens, why do sick people take NSAIDs to reduce the fever?
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Could bone marrow transplants be used to prevent tissue rejection of trans-species organs?

So the immune system doesn't calibrate (for want of a better euphemism) to recognize it's own cells until fairly well along in fetal development & the major components of the immune system (...
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What is the smallest molecule that can present as an antigen to the immune system in the context of allergies?

People often claim, in a colloquial sense, that they are "allergic to everything". Is it possible to have a full-fledged IgE mediated allergic response to very small molecules? I was always under ...
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Why White Blood Cells (WBCs) do not react to foreign bodies like sperm?

Why do the white blood cells allow foreign bodies like sperm to exist inside body cavity without any reaction? White blood cells function is to fight against foreign bodies (from the text books).
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Why do people have antibodies against other blood types?

The ABO blood type divides each blood type according to whether they have the "A" and "B" antigen(s) (AB has both, O has none). People also have antibodies against the antigens they don't have (AB has ...
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Do we actually get more sick (flu/cold) during winter?

The word flu derives from the Italian phrase "influenza de freddo" meaning "influence of the cold". Indeed it is that time of the year when my colleagues seem to have the flu/cold more often than not....
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At what age do babies begin to synthesize their own antibodies?

When babies are first born, they receive their antibodies from their mother (I assume because they do not yet have the capacity to synthesize their own). So my question is, at what age do babies ...
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How plasma cells switches secreting different Ig classes?

In Type 1 hypersensitivity how do B lymphocytes switch Ig classes, from synthesizing IgG to IgE? What is the mechanism? I studied multiple pathology books, it says the same as for IgG secreting ...
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Variation in MHC in humans

What evolutionary process lead to so much variation in MHC? What is the advantage of having such variation?
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What do the names of Immunoglobulin subtypes mean?

What is the exact meaning and full form of IgM, IgG, IgA, etc? What is the rationale behind the names of the isotypes, if there is one? For example, what does "M" mean in IgM?
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How Do White Blood Cells Learn? Or Do They?

So I get the concept that a vaccine is a weakened form of a virus so that the body can "learn" to fight it and make a person immune to that disease, but how exactly does this learning take place? What ...
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Why do I need a flu shot every year, while many other vaccinations last years or even a lifetime?

Is it a viral vs. bacterial thing? Is there just more variety among types of flu than other diseases, so that this year's vaccines don't cover next year's flu?
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Why is an HIV infection considered “incurable”?

My biology teacher told me that if one caught HIV, they cannot be cured because it was near to impossible to be completely virus-free. She said this was because HIV keeps on changing its glycoprotein ...
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What is the distinction between chemokines, cytokines, interferons and interleukins?

They all seem to describe molecules of similar function and many people seem to use them interchangeably. Also please include any other similar molecules if I've forgotten any in the list above.
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How do we find antibiotics?

So the last class of antibiotics were made in 1984 (I think), which makes it appear as though they are hard to find(/design maybe). How is it then they were discovered? Was it by chance? I know some ...
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How does the immune system “learn” from a vaccine?

According to Wikipedia: A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one ...
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How does herpes (HSV) infection suppress HIV?

HIV compromises the human body to defend against infection. Yet people who are infected with herpes are at less risk of developing AIDS. How does this work?
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Is vermiform appendix no more a vestigial organ?

The appendix has a role in the immune response. So is it therefore recently removed from the list of vestigial organs?
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Why is there an extended delay before G.M. liver cells are attacked by the immune system?

In this BBC article a trial is described where patients with B-Haemophillia are infected with modified Adeno-associated Virus 8 which contained the genes for Factor IX clotting protein. Trials seemed ...
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How does paracetamol interfere with immune system?

Paracetamol is used to reduce body temperature when it is to high. The high body temperature (fever) is known to be an indication that immune system fights against an infection. In this context I ...
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Why is there no way to remove an immune response?

We've known for a long time now how to "add a new entry to the database," as it were, of immune responses. It's called vaccination, and it's been one of the greatest success stories in the history of ...
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Immune System - B-cell receptors

How do the B-cells, which are a part of our body, develop antibodies against antigens of the outside world (outside of our body), which they don't even know about? Is it just a random match?
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What is the purpose of requiring two separate binding systems for the antibody response?

I've read that in most cases, B-cell activation requires helper T-cells. This requires antigen binding by both antibodies and T-cell receptors, using two different antigen-binding proteins, ...
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What is the name of the category of viruses that affect only one side of the body?

The Varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. When the virus attacks as shingles, one of its distinguishing characteristics is that it only affects one side of the ...
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Why does the protection afforded by some vaccines last longer than for others?

After reading an answer to the question of How Do White Blood Cells Learn? Or Do They?, I came to wonder something. Specifically, The effect of this is that every new B and T cell that your bone ...
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How are antibodies designed?

Antibodies have the ability of recognising highly specific peptide sequences and bind it at their antigen-binding site. This ability is harnessed as a tool in research to purify target structures in ...
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Presence of MHC on red blood cells

Do red blood cells have no MHC? (I have often heard that they do not.) If so why are they not destroyed by immune cells?
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Modern immunology textbooks

I am looking for recommendations to good textbooks introducing modern immunology. Review articles, preferably modern (post 2000) would also be useful. Please, include a brief comment with each book ...
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Allergic rhinitis vaccine

Note : Any answer to this question will not be (and should not be) taken as medical advice. One of my friends has allergic rhinitis and has been prescribed an oral vaccine. He is allergic to 3 ...
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What cell types produce immunoglobins and where are those cells found?

I know B cells found in bone marrow produce immunoglobin G. But IgM is produced in mucosal cells at least in the gut. Can you find immunoglobin expressing cells in other tissues in the human body? ...
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How to find suitable qRTPCR reference gene for a inflammatory response experiment?

I have tried several housekeeping genes – Hprt, β-actin and GAPDH, to analyze the relative expression of a cytokine for measuring the inflammatory local response in mice ears. However, all ...
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How to inhibit formation of specific antibodies (to antisera)?

Is there a way to inhibit an antibody response to a specific antigen using immunosupression? I am interested in reducing the anti-antibody formation to animal antibodies such as murine antibodies in ...
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Does class switching occur both in B cells and Plasma cells?

I understand that the cell class switches to change the type of immunoglobulin it is producing. The B-cell produces the membrane bound B-cell receptor (BCR) while the plasma cell produces the the ...
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What is the advantage of indirect ELISA over direct one?

I guess the answer is about indirect one giving less error due to selectivity but how exactly does that happen?
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Doubts regarding definition of upstream/downstream genes and cognate protein

With respect to the research paper, there are a few things I didn't understand: 1. What is upstream and downstream gene 2. This paper identifies proteins that help in secretion, but does not identify ...
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Is there a maximum amount of antibodies your body can keep?

I am wondering if you were theoretically able to get vaccinations or antibodies for any and every diseases and/or illness, would there be a limit to how many you can get and keep in your body at one ...
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Why Can't The Immune Systems of Uncontacted Tribes Handle Our Common Colds?

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm just starting my first year of a biomedicine degree and I'm curious - googling didn't find me any answers. I know that the Aboriginal Australians and many ...
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Passing virus/diseases immunity to newborn

From my understanding, our white blood cells 'learn' to fight off viruses and other pathogens that make us sick (or that they encounter because of vaccination) so that the subsequent encounters with ...
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Why are Natural Killer cells considered cells of Innate immunity?

Kuby Immunology says They (NK cells) do not express antigen specific receptors and are considered part of the innate immune system. Though they also have receptors for antibodies that bind to NK ...
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Why aren't all infections immune-system resistant?

It's been less than a century since the widespread use of antibotics started, and already we're seeing bacteria that have evolved immunities to the antibotics we use. On the other hand, we've been ...
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IgA-s in an immune system vaccined intramuscularly against Hepatisis A

As IgA are immunoglobulins associated with secretion and mucosis membranes, I am interested whether after intramuscular vaccination with Hepatitis A vaccine IgA antibodies will be produced by the ...
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What is meant by clones of B-cells?

I was reading Cellular and Molecular Immunology By Abul K. Abbas, Andrew H. H. Lichtman, Shiv Pillai and stumbled upon the following excerpt $-$ In every individual there are millions of different ...
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Does atrophy of the thymus not effect T-cell selection and tolerance?

The thymus atrophies as age progresses. Does the T cell selection (which happens in the thymus) continue to take place? This doubt came into my mind because in the cadaver we dissected, the thymus was ...