The immune system evolved to protect the body from a variety of external (infectious agents or harmful molecules) and internal (malignant cells) threats. In this regard, the immune system provides the body with a means for minimizing or preventing disease. This is most clearly illustrated by individuals who have defects in immune function (immunodeficiency disease) resulting from genetic, developmental, infective, or therapeutic causes. Because of its destructive potential, however, the immune system is also capable of causing disease when confronted with inappropriate antigenic stimulation or loss of regulatory control ( 88).
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