Questions tagged [immunology]

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

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How do infectious bacteria determine when their numbers are high enough to attack a host?

When you get sick, you generally don't contract enough bacteria at once for them to succeed in battling your immune system, right? Their numbers must gradually increase in the host's body before they ...
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Conjugate secondary antibody

Why is the secondary antibody conjugated to the enzyme in ELISA, instead of the primary antibody? Wouldn't it be easier to conjugate the enzyme to the primary antibody?
2 votes
1 answer
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Insulin and monoclonal antibody production

When producing insulin, the gene for its production is inserted into the plasmid of a bacterium that is allowed to replicate freely. Why can't the same thing be done with antibodies (as I understand ...
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1 answer
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Is it more likely to develop a throat-ache at night?

I have noticed that I rarely develop phlemmy throat-aches in the daytime, but often notice them after I have been sleeping. Is this a recognised phenomenon? Could it be because viruses or bacteria ...
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1 answer
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Why glycoproteins are better than non-glycoproteins in fulfilling biological tasks?

I have just an intuition that the carbohydrate part of glycoproteins help them to fulfil those tasks like in plasma membranes. You can also get many more receptors if you can use carbohydrates too. ...
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1 answer
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Can the RNA in the HIV virus make viral enzymes without entering the nucleus?

If the provirus was not formed yet, can the virus make viral enzymes? (I know that it already has some, but supposing it doesn't)
9 votes
3 answers
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Multi-nucleated cells: advantages and examples?

This question arises because I saw that monocytes and leukocytes are commonly called 'mononuclear cells' in the scientific literature. The implication of course being that other immune sub-types are ...
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27 votes
1 answer
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Why do vaccines cause your arm to hurt?

When you get a shot for a vaccine (for example, the annual flu vaccine), the nurse frequently indicates that your arm will ache for a day or two, maybe more. This ache is typically not just a pain ...
10 votes
2 answers
643 views

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 ...
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do antibiotics attenuate immune response on subsequent exposure to same bacteria?

A healthy immune response to a bacterial infection includes "memory" to permit the body to thwart subsequent exposure to same bacteria. What are the dynamics of using antibiotics on initial exposure ...
5 votes
1 answer
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During human ageing, which immune cell sub-types are most affected?

It is now well established that human ageing is accompanied by an increase in systemic, low-grade (chronic) inflammation, sometimes termed inflammaging (Franceschi, 2007). This is in part due to more ...
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1 answer
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What is the biological mechanism linking temperature and probability to be infected with a virus?

It is common knowledge that when you're cold you could get a cold. What is the mechanism linking temperature and viral infection?
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3 answers
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How and when did a dedicated immune system evolve?

I have recently been doing a lot of research into the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems in humans, and mammalian laboratory models. This has led to my reading some interesting ...
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Do cockroaches have less health issues than humans?

Cockroaches are known to live in very dirty places like sewers. Does this cause them to evolve to be stronger against parasites and bacteria? Recently I read online that cockroaches can sustain ...
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5 votes
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Do you know of any disease where HLA / MHC association discovery has led to better treatment or management?

If we discover an association between a disease and a particular HLA type (MHC class I or class II molecule) then it may provide us with some insight into the disease in a very basic way. However, ...
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Macrophage pathogen fixation

Overly simplified, macrophages recognise pathogenic patterns and endocytose anything that matches them. That also works on bacteria, which are quite often very mobile. What if a bacterium was just ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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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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1 answer
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In which order did the cells of the immune system evolve?

Thinking about how complex the interactions between different types of immune system cells (T-helpers, T-Killers, Phagocytes, B-Cells etc.) are, it's fascinating how they all combine to get the ...
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1 answer
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From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain

Recently, some research, for example this article has proposed that inflammation can cause innate immune cells to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines that act on the brain to cause sickness behaviour. ...
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Using the IMGT/GENE-DB service to find RSS

I'm trying to get the data for the Human and Mouse 12 and 23 Recomination Signal Sequences (RSS), to run a classification algorithm on it. I'm not a biologist, so I apologise in advance for my ...
14 votes
1 answer
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Organ cloning - possible to make a non-antigenic organ?

From a J. Neil Schulman article on Organ Cloning: Cannibalizing organs from other people also entails the risk of rejection because of incompatibilities, not only for tissue-typing but also for ...
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Why do people dying of immune deficiency diseases appear sick?

Please forgive the obviously silly appearance of this question, and/or of the tenor which may come across as flippant or dismissive of real world suffering. My intention is none of the above. As a ...
17 votes
1 answer
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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? This question comes from this paper, which ...
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What's the advantage of autocrine signalling?

In the antibody-mediated immune response, when the helper T cell gets activated by the costimulus (IL-2 and TNF-α secreted by the APC) which in turn produces IL-2, IL-2 acts in an autocrine manner. I'...
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Harmless virus?

Is it possible for a virus to live symbiotically with its host? Is the human body plagued with viral infections that do negligible harm, or even serve a beneficial role?
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What cells would have the CD3 marker on them (other than T-cells)

Do you know of any peripheral blood mononuclear cells that would express any amount (beit low or high) of CD3 on their surface (other than T-cells)?
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Why do dendritic cells have CD4/CD8 on their surface?

Why do dendritic cells have CD4 or CD8 antigens on their surface? What is their function without the presence of a T-cell receptor?
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4 answers
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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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
872 views

Do antigens protrude through the capsule/slime layer in prokaryotic organisms where these features are present?

In prokaryotic organisms that have a slime layer or capsule, do intrinsic/extrinsic proteins and other molecules that could be used as antigens protrude through the capsule? I assume that they must ...
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26 votes
2 answers
273 views

How is duration of efficacy estimated for vaccines?

Vaccines, especially those given in adulthood, usually have term limits attached, eg: 10 years for yellow fever or 3 years for typhoid. Since presumably the time course of an immune response is no ...
10 votes
1 answer
199 views

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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8 votes
1 answer
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What are the clotting factors' effect on avascular necrosis development?

Do clotting factors tpa and pai-1 lead to degenerative osteoarthritis in the same way that lupus anticoagulant and prothrombin might? Is one of these pathways particularly detrimental during formation ...
17 votes
2 answers
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What are the main mechanisms of interaction between the nervous and immune systems?

We know from pop science that our psychological states have an effect on our immune systems ("worrying ourselves sick", etc.), but what are the actual mechanisms through which our nervous systems pass ...
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22 votes
1 answer
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Are lymphocyte sizes clustered in two groups?

Tortora writes in Principles of Anatomy and Physiology: Lymphocytes may be as small as 6–9 μm in diameter or as large as 10–14 μm in diameter. Those ranges are quite close to each others. Should ...
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