Wiki - Brief definition or explanation of terms

This page will define and/or explain various terms, acronyms and expressions related to different topics mentioned on HildeSchjerven.net.


Adaptive Immune System: Is the part of the immune system that can adapt to and "remember" the pathogen based on "memory". This feature is unique to higher vertebrates, and is based on a clonal expansion of cells that are able to react to a pathogen. Immunizations take advantage of the adaptive immune system, by introducing the body to potential pathogens (for instance the inactivated flu virus) to elicit a memory response to protect you from future exposure.

Epitope: A surface that can be recognized by the immune system. It is also called an antigenic determinant, as it is a part of an antigen, the unit that an antibody or immune receptor recognize. The epitope can be a linear sequence of for instance amino acids (a small part of a protein, called a peptide), or it can be a 3-dimensional surface composed of different parts. 

Innate Immune System: Is the part of the immune system that is innate, that we are born with. It generally recognizes so-called Pathogen-Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs), for instance common repetitive structures on the surface of bacteria and viruses.

Pathogen: A foreign organism that leads to damage or disease (pathology). Bacteria, virus, parasites are all examples of potential pathogens. However, the commensal bacteria in your gut, or the cultures in yoghurt, are not pathogens.



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