Asked Jun 6, 2019

Differentiate between humoral and cell-mediated adaptive immunities. Describe how both immunities are activated and how these two responses work in concert.


Expert Answer

Step 1

In the immune system, there are two types of immunity which are present. One is innate immunity, which forms the first line of defence when an infection happens for the first time, while the other is adaptive immunity, which is more specific towards the kind of antigen infecting the body.

Step 2

Adaptive immunity, which is antigen-specific, is further divided into two types, namely cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity. The difference between the two has been tabulated as follows:

Cell-mediated immunity

Humoral immunity

This is mediated by different types of cells, as the name suggests.

This is mediated by antibodies secreted by cells.

The main cells involved are T-lymphocytes.

B-lymphocytes are the cells responsible for antibody secretion.

This is more active against intracellular pathogens.

This is more active against extracellular pathogens.

The response takes a higher amount of time.

The response is rapid.

This response plays a major role in graft rejection and type IV hypersensitivity reactions.

This response has an important role in type I, II and III hypersensitivity reactions.

Step 3

For cell-mediated immunity to be activated, the antigen needs to be ‘presented’ to the cells. This involves engulfment of the antigen by APCs (antigen presenting cells). These cells take up the antigen, break it down into small peptides and then present it on a special class of molecules called MHCs (major histocompatibility complex). Once the antigen has been presented, the T-lymphocytes (cytotoxic T-ce...

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