The Latest Advances In Drug Manipulations Of The Immune System

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INTRODUCTION In order to provide a detailed analysis of recent pharmacological developments involving the human immune system, it is firstly necessary to introduce the innate and adaptive immune responses . Immunosuppressants and immunomodulators will be differentiated between and a selection of new and often experimental drugs belonging to each category will be provided. Specific drugs will be described including the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics involved with each type. The possible clinical uses will be alluded to along with details from recent research. INNATE IMMUNITY Innate immunity is the first line of defence and comprises physical (skin), biochemical (complement, lysozyme) and cellular (macrophages, neutrophils)…show more content…
The role of complement & antibody-antigen complexes Antibodies have two distinct functions: to recognise and combine with an antigen, and to activate a defence mechanism for example by activating the complement sequence (Dale et. al., 1994). This sequence involves more than thirty proteins (Mollnes & Harboe, 1996) and has the function of the destruction and removal of invading micro-organisms and subcellular debris and to promote clearance of antigen-antibody complexes (Dale et. al., 1994). These functions are achieved mainly via complement’s ability to attract leukocytes (Lessof, 1993). The interaction of antibody with specific antigen results in the formation of the antibody-antigen complex. This complex has several functions: for instance, to immobilise an antigen therefore preventing attack upon host cells, to block active toxic regions of particular bacteria, and to allow phagocytic attack. Memory cells Once the antigens have been destroyed the plasma cells disappear leaving a few as memory cells which enable a swift response upon second exposure to the antigen (Trounce, 1997). Memory cells are the basis of active immunisation against bacteria (Downie et. al., 1994). Humoral immunity is most efficient against antigens dissolved in body fluids, that is extracellular pathogens, primarily bacteria whereas cell-mediated immunity is most effective against intracellular pathogens such as viruses (Tortora & Grabowski, 1996). CELL-MEDIATED
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