Imbalance of Immune System Homeostasis

| Home | | Anatomy and Physiology | | Anatomy and Physiology Health Education (APHE) |

Chapter: Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals: Lymphatic System and Immunity

The production or function of immune cells or specific molecules may be impaired. A congeni-tal or acquired condition that causes this to occur is termed an immunodeficiency.


Imbalance of Immune System Homeostasis

The production or function of immune cells or specific molecules may be impaired. A congeni-tal or acquired condition that causes this to occur is termed an immunodeficiency. Complement and antibodies may both be impaired. AIDS is the most devastating condition affecting the immune system because it interferes with the actions of the helper T cells. AIDS was first identified in the United States in 1981, primarily among homosexual men and intravenous drug users. It is signified by night sweats, severe weight loss, frequent opportunistic infections, swollen lymph nodes, a rare pneumonia called pneu-mocystis pneumonia, and Kaposi’s sarcoma, a canceraffecting blood vessels that causes purple-colored lesions on the skin. In many cases, AIDS results in total debilitation, with death caused by overwhelm-ing infections or cancer.

Autoimmune Conditions

Sometimes, the immune system can no longer dis-tinguish between “self” and “foreign” antigens. The body then produces autoantibodies and cytotoxic T cells that destroy the “self” tissues. Autoantibod-ies function against the body’s normal antigens. This condition, called autoimmunity, may lead to a dis-ease state called autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease of one type or another affects approximately 5% of adults in the United States, two-third of them female. TABLE 20-5 explains the most important auto-immune diseases. 


Autoimmune diseases are treated with agents such as corticosteroids, which suppress the entire immune system. Today, treatments aim at only specific immune responses. There are many possible “targets” for these treatments because of the immune system’s complexity. Commonly, there are two major therapies.

One blocks cytokine actions by using antibodies that oppose them or their receptors, and the other blocks costimulatory molecules needed to activate effector cells. Newly investigated therapies involve “restarting” self-tolerance by either activating regulatory T cells, using vaccines to induce self-tolerance, or directing antibodies to destroy self-reactive immune cells. This is all difficult to achieve because the selective blocking of autoimmune responses often also blocks responses required to fight infection.

Contact Us, Privacy Policy, Terms and Compliant, DMCA Policy and Compliant

TH 2019 - 2022 pharmacy180.com; Developed by Therithal info.