Section 2

Specific Defenses: The Immune System

• The immune system consists of the cells and tissues that recognize and attack foreign substances in the body.

• Lymphocytes must be able to recognize foreign invaders and tell them apart from the cells of the body. Receptor proteins on a lymphocyte's plasma membrane allow the lymphocyte to recognize the invaders' antigens.

• The reaction of the body against an antigen is called an immune response. An immune response is a two-part assault on a pathogen: the cell-mediated immune response and the humoral immune response.

• Memory cells that remain after a primary response to an antigen allow a rapid secondary immune response if that antigen appears again. Vaccinations take advantage of the production of memory cells and the secondary immune response.

• An allergy is a physical response to an antigen that causes little or no response in the general population. Allergies can trigger asthma, a respiratory disorder that causes the bronchioles to narrow. An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the immune system attacks the


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