Where are immune cells found and what are their functions?
For the immune system to work, specialized cells are dedicated to this task: the immune cells.
These immune cells are located in these different body’s locations:
- The blood
- Lymphatic vessels and all lymphatic structures, such as lymph nodes
- Organs such as the liver, spleen, lungs, etc.
- The digestive and respiratory mucous membranes, etc.
- The skin
- The brain
Some cells are mainly active in the blood, but can escape from the blood in the event of inflammation and infection, to support the immune cells already there.
The majority of these cells are known as white blood cells. As the reality is much more complex, we have decided to simplify our understanding and group them under the term immune cells.
Here are a number of these cells:
- The natural killer (NK)
- Neutrophils / basophils / eosinophils
- B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes
The actions of these cells vary broadly. For example, cells such as macrophages will destroy all germs considered dangerous without distinction. It is what we call an innate immune response.
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Other cells like T and B lymphocytes will directly destroy infected cells or make antibodies against specific antigens. It is what we call the adaptive immune response.
All these cells originate from the bone marrow and are derived from stem cells.
But for the immune system to function correctly, these immune cells need support from organs, systems, and structures involved in the immune system operating like the spleen, the tonsils, the lymph nodes, etc.
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