What is Adaptive Immunity? An Overview

The human immune system comprises several subsystems. These subsystems include a number of cellular processes that help safeguard us from diseases.

The adaptive immune system is one such subsystem, also known as acquired immunity.

This system comprises various systemic cells and processes that help eliminate pathogens and prevent their growth.

Adaptive immunity is one of the two primary immune systems in vertebrates.

Thus, it’s advisable to learn about it. In this blog, we are discussing adaptive immunity definition, types of adaptive immunity, and more.

What is Adaptive Immunity?

Going by the definition -

“Adaptive immunity is the immunity that involves specific immune cells and antibodies to attack and destroy foreign invaders. This helps prevent diseases in the future by remembering these substances and mounting a new immune response.”

There are two mechanisms in the adaptive immune response system. The following section discusses those mechanisms.

Types of Adaptive Immunity: Primary Mechanisms

The human adaptive immune system includes the following two mechanisms:

Humoral Immunity

Humoral Immunity - Type of Adaptive Immunity

This refers to the antibody-mediated immunity. In this mechanism, the helper T cells help B cells differentiate into plasma B cells. This leads to the production of antibodies against specific antigens.

Humoral immunity helps fight pathogens that may freely circulate or reside outside the cells.

Antibodies that B cells produce bind with antigens. This helps neutralise them and results in the dissolution of cells.

For example, antibodies occur in the blood, in gastric and mucus secretions, and in breast milk. Basically, humoral immunity is provided by the body fluids.

Cellular Immunity

Cellular Immunity - Type of Adaptive Immunity

This is the type of adaptive immunity that functions inside the cells carrying infection. This functions with the help of T lymphocytes.<

The pathogen’s antigens reside either on the cell surface or on antigen-presenting cells.

Additionally, helper T cells release cytokines. This helps active T cells attach to the infectious cells’ MHC-antigen complex, turning the T-cell into a cytotoxic T cell. Further, the dissolution of infectious cells occurs.

Major Functions of Adaptive Immunity

Let’s look at some of the major functions of adaptive immunity:

  • Destroying microbes and the toxin enzymes they produce.
  • Identification of non-self antigens in presence of self-antigens.
  • Remembering diseases and disease causing cells and eliminating them during a future attack.
  • Provide protection against infectious disease agents mediated by B- and T- lymphocytes.

Also read:What is Innate Immunity? An Overview

How to Strengthen Your Adaptive Immune Response System?

Here are a few natural tips that can help strengthen your adaptive immune system:

Tips to strengthen adaptive immune system

  • Maintaining a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Regular exercise
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Avoiding infection through regular hand washing
  • Managing stress

Wrapping up

Maintaining a healthy adaptive immunity is crucial to avoid diseases from coming back. In this blog, we discussed adaptive immunity in detail. Hopefully, this helped you.