“IMMUNITY-A Double Edged Sword!”
by: Prof. Prabha Balaram
(School of Biological Sciences)
DATE: Wednesday, 8th August, 2012
VENUE: Lecture Room 1, Third Floor, Main building QIUP
IMMUNITY- A Double Edged Sword!
IMMUNITY refers to a state of having sufficient biological defenses to resist infection, or invasion by foreign agents, protection from the internal chaos created by altered cells, intracellular organisms and products of normal catalytic and proliferative processes. Even though immunological mechanisms remain to be understood in detail, it has become an unambiguous fact that immune responses form the central machinery responsible for survival of both plants and animals. In line with the age-old adage “anything in excess is harmful”, over functioning of immune system leads to a variety of disease conditions including allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancers, and psoriasis. The lack of it or dysfunction, on the other hand, leads to immunodeficiency diseases. Thus, the maintenance of the homeostatic status by the immune responses is highly essential for maintenance of normalcy. The Immune system is a very well-organised system with specific arms of action. It is characterised by a wide network of tissues, cells, numerous receptors of wide specificities, transiently and continuously produced positive and negative mediators and the influences of the changing microenvironment of the cells. The primary purpose of this system is to recognise, disable, eliminate the enemies (agents such as pathogens and altered cells) disturbing the normal functioning of the host and memorise the immune response mounted, the basic theme being ‘self vs. non-self’.
This presentation is aimed at an overview of the basics of the immune system in humans with reference to the recognition of pathogens, polarisation of the immune responses and the positive and negative influences of these responses on the host.