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Fundamentals of Immunology

Immunology deals with the immune system and how it acts in the presence of infection; it affects the physiological aspect of the immune system both during the illness that health situation and the failure of the system itself, as in the case of autoimmune diseases or immune deficiencies. Immunology actually takes moves to the 700 with the English Doctor Edward Jenner in the West, who created the first vaccine to prevent smallpox.

For some time, in China, Africa and in England, it was a common practice to inoculate smallpox scabs; of this trend lies the insight of Dr... Jenner shows that smallpox had less impact in the countryside where they recorded the cowpox. It hence arose from his intuition to inoculation scabs of smallpox vaccine derived from this discovery and also the name whom we now use this tool for prophylaxis.

Although this discovery was of paramount importance, it was ignored by the medical research that did not bother to understand the working mechanism of the vaccine. A century later, however, the research focused on this discovery and so sanctioned the establishment of immunology as a science. 800 in the eighties a number of scientists, often in opposition to each other, made ​​attempts to understand what occurs during an infectious disease.

the fundamentals of immunology 1943
Louis Pasteur, French, and Robert Koch, German, discovered the existence of microbes and how they are linked to the onset of disease; this discovery comes the need of science to isolate the different strains of microorganisms to isolate that hazardous man. It was Pasteur which gave scientific foundation to the discoveries of Jenner, in fact; he identified the causative agent of chicken cholera, then showed how the injection of a less aggressive strain protected chickens from a subsequent infection with a more virulent strain. With this discovery opens the way for the vaccination.

A few years after this important discovery, the Russian Ilia Metchnikoff "discovered" macrophages, special white blood cells that can engulf bacteria and other foreign body. These scientists were just the prodromal phase of a season of discoveries that began in the late eighties 800 with Emile Roux, a collaborator of Pasteur, who could identify in the serum of people affected by diphtheria toxins responsible for the same.

This discovery allowed him to E. Von Behting to discover antibodies, i.e. the particular substances in the blood of animals sick with diphtheria and tetanus, which could have an action on the disease until it locks in case they were administered at the initial stage of the disease.

Henceforth until the fifties of the twentieth century are synonymous with the immunology and serology for this reason is the domain of chemistry, so far from medicine. We study the reaction between the antigen and antibody as the basis of the immune response, that is, what could explain that for each antigen produces a specific antibody?

It will make a step forward in this direction in 1955 Niels Kaj Jerne, thanks to the Dane, who proposed a Copernican reversal, or shift attention instead of antigen antibody and formulated the hypothesis that there were, apart from disease, antibodies, which were then selected by the antigen.

The next step you took a few years later through the study of Australian Frank Macfarlane Burnet, which shifted attention to the cells that produce antibodies. He arrives in discover how the immune system is equipped with a memory: When an antigen binds to the receptor of a cell producing antibodies (each is "specialized" in one type) that divides and produces other cells with receptors for many other antigens the same type. From this moment, you have the overview of the immune system from which you will develop subsequent discoveries.

Jerne discovered the same as there is only a relationship between antibody and antigen, but also one of the antibodies, i.e. antibodies may be one of them as well of antigens.

More subtly Jerne compared the immune system to the nervous system because it too is a network, has memory and its cells receive excitatory or inhibitory signals. This similarity finds its counterpart in the real exchange that occurs between these two systems with substances that the two have in common and that is the precondition for the emergence of psychoneuro immunology, which studies precisely the relationship between the central nervous system and the immune system.

And experience of all experience an increase in infections when you live a stressful period when you are afflicted or when you live a very quiet period.

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