What is HLA or human leucocyte antigen?

The immune system comprises all systems, organs, structures, cells, and molecules that identify both SELF and non-SELF.


Identifying SELF and non-SELF is the primary key mechanism used by our immune system to kill and destroy dangerous things while protecting our own self. 


A dysfunctional SELF and non-SELF system will end up causing all sorts of pathologies like allergies and auto-immune diseases.
As with the military’s concept of “friend or foe” identification to avoid friendly fire, our immune system’s priority is to identify ourselves as SELF, not to attack or destroy our cells and tissues.


All cells in our body (except for red blood cells) are identified as ours because they carry a distinctive mark on their surface that identifies them as SELF to our immune cells.


This hallmark is called HLA (human leucocyte antigen), or major histocompatibility class I complex (MHC I).

This HLA is a protein complex made by the cell itself, according to a unique code defined by its DNA. Genetically unique to every human being, there are no exceptions apart from identical twins who share the same DNA.


It works a bit like the inhabitants of a country who all have their passports to be checked as citizens of that country.

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Why is HLA an antigen?

An antigen is a natural or synthetic substance which, by itself or by binding to another substance, triggers an immune response through the production of antibodies by B lymphocytes (humeral immunity).

But our HLA, introduced into another person’s body, will trigger this immune response.

It must therefore be understood that our HLA is only an antigen (not SELF) for others; for us, it identifies us as SELF.

However, a foreign HLA is only one antigen among millions of other possible antigens.

To learn more about how your immune system works and what to do to help it thrive, please visit our free library full of topics like these covering a wide range of topics written by Holistic Natural Health Experts.


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