The White Blood Cells of Our Immune System
Macrophages, dendritic cells, mast cells, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and lymphocytes. What do they all have to do with each other?
They are all white blood cells of the immune system that are derived from the bone marrow!
Let's talk about them!
These cells are one of the three types of phagocytes in our immune system.
A phagocyte basically "eats" other cells. Think of it engulfing small cells, like bacteria.
Macrophages play an important role in our innate immune system, which is our immune system's first line of defense against pathogens.
These cells reside in peripheral tissues and are responsible for taking an antigen (think food protein) and displaying it to lymphocytes (a different type of white blood cell) for recognition. Think of the dendritic cell showing the food protein to their boss, the lymphocyte, and the lymphocyte makes the final decision as to whether or not the food protein is dangerous to us. They do this is the lymph nodes, where native T cells become activated.
Dendritic cells form the bridge between our innate and adaptive immune responses.
These cells mainly reside near small blood vessels.
When they are activated, they release substances that affect vascular permeability. This means that the wall of the blood vessel begins to allow small molecules and cells to flow in and out.
Mast cells are best known for their role in allergic responses. But, it is also believed that they play a part in protecting our mucosal surfaces against pathogens.
If you noticed, this one is not listed in the first sentence of the article. That's because there are three types, and I listed each one.
These cells are the most numerous type of cell that is part of our innate immune system (defined above). Their main role is protect us against pathogens. People with hereditary deficiencies in neutrophil function tend to experience many bacterial infections.
These cells play an important role in the defense against parasitic infections. They target antibody-coated parasites.
As we also know, they play an important role in allergic diseases, such as anaphylaxis, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), and more. They release various mediators.
These cells have similar roles to both eosinophils and mast cells. Like eosinophils, they augment anti-parasitic immunity, and like mast cells, they promote allergic responses. They also release various mediators.
There are two main types of lymphocytes: B cells (which secrete antibodies) and T cells (which kill infected viruses and also activate other cells).
We know that regulatory T cells play an important role in allergic conditions. READ THIS ARTICLE to learn more about regulatory T cells.
Lymphocytes can initiate a specific immune response to any foreign antigen.
In summary, our immune system is made up of many white blood cells, some of which play a role in allergic reactions.
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